Can you really use it Solar energy for heating?
Doesn't the arrival of winter make the use of solar energy impossible?
Many think that your solar panels work best in the summer. You imagine the need for a scorching hot sun to power the panels. And when winter comes, they assume that they will have to rely on traditional suppliers for their energy needs.
It's a myth.
Solar panels in Australia are effective all year round. The truth is you can hold up Solar power in winter.
Does solar energy work in winter??
The simple answer is yes. T.The most common mistake many people make is believing that solar panels convert them heat from the sun's rays into electricity. So solar panels do not get any energy.
Solar panels get energy from the rays of light, not from the heat of the sun. So it doesn't matter how hot the day is. The decisive factor is how long you are exposed to direct sunlight. Australia in particular is fortunate that we are among the countries with the most natural sunlight in the world all year round.
So you don't have to worry about the temperature drop that affects performance. In fact, a freezing winter day will produce a lot of energy as long as there aren't too many clouds blocking the sun.
Winter against summer – The main differences
While production declines in winter, the differences are less significant than you can imagine, especially when the system is properly sized.
The main differences in generation from winter to summer are the strength of the sun's rays (which are of course much weaker in winter) and the shorter days in winter.
Here is the typical average daily output of a 10 kW solar system over the year in Sydney:
Dark, cloudy days will also have an impact. During the winter days, more clouds can cover between the sun and your panels. In this case, your panels may not generate as much power as they would on a clear day.
The good news, however, is that most modern systems can still produce enough Solar energy to cover the base load of your home and possibly even some heating as well as as long as you do it, turn the day around and not after you get home from work. So solar energy still works in winter. And for the average consumer, a solar system should still produce enough electricity for your needs.
We can't speak for other installers, but here at Solaray we take your winter usage into account when we state your system size. Our solar experts can help you sizing a system that takes into account the decline in generation during the winter months. In the summer, you often get excess solar power to power air conditioners, pool pumps, and the like.
If you want to get an idea of how to dimension the solar system for the winter, the team here at Solaray can help (without the high pressure sales tactic).
Maximizing solar power in winter
There are a few things you can do to improve yourself Solar power in winter. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Tip 1 – keep the panels clear
You want to make sure that your panels are exposed to the sun as much as possible. This means that you have to do whatever you can to keep them clear.
Fall, in particular, is a time when you have a lot of trees in your garden, potentially falling leaves can land on your panels. As these accumulate over time, they prevent the sun's rays from reaching the panels.
If the rain doesn't wash them off after a while, it may be worth removing leaves from your panels to ensure they are achieving their maximum efficiency. Just make sure you do it safely.
Tip 2 – Reduce your energy consumption
The average household in Australia mostly uses Solar energy for heating in the winter.
A tip that always helps to maintain the same electricity costs is to reduce your consumption in other areas. You can simply insulate your home by keeping the windows closed, snaking the door for the crack under the door, and closing the floor-to-ceiling curtains to create a pocket of air for insulation.
The advice to death (which we will share with you again) is to use energy efficient appliances and lamps wherever possible. You may also be able to use solar-powered lights for your garden.
The lesser known but more interesting advice is that electric blankets cost less than rod heating. Using rod heaters can be very expensive.
It is worth noting that clothes and blankets are heated for free. We recommend a nice, tight-fitting thermal vest or layer around the house before thinking of overdoing it with heating. If you've heard of a blanket, now google it for months of comfort at home.
If you are just a little more aware of your consumption, you can expand your winter energy production further.
Prepare for winter
So, does solar energy work in winter??
It does. And you can help your system become even more efficient as the days get shorter. Remember, it is light rather than heat that keeps your system going. So if you are thinking about solar, don't let winter put you off with a sunny new solar system.