Solar panels offer homeowners the promise of clean, renewable, affordable electricity for their homes. However, plenty of homeowners here in the Fort Worth, TX area wonder how reliable a rooftop solar array will be in the winter. Their concern is a valid one. This is because solar panels rely on the sun, and there’s simply less of it in the winter months. That means rooftop solar arrays don’t produce as much power in the winter. Here’s an overview of how winter affects a typical rooftop solar array. It should answer the question of whether your solar panels will still provide your home with power in the winter.

Shorter Days, Less Electricity

You can indeed expect an average rooftop solar array to produce less power in the winter months. The biggest reason is that there are fewer hours of daylight in those months. Here in Fort Worth, the number of daylight hours varies considerably throughout the year. For example, near the end of June, we may experience over 14 hours of daylight. However, by the end of December, we’ll only get around 10.

That alone means your rooftop solar array will have four fewer hours during which it produces electricity during the day. That alone will cut your solar array’s electricity production to about 71% of its maximum capacity on the shortest day of the year. Plus, Fort Worth is one of the few parts of Texas that gets snow almost every winter. So, if there’s significant snow accumulation on your panels, that will harm production, too.

Increased Efficiency in the Cold

There is, of course, some good news for owners of solar panels in the winter. It’s that solar panels reach their maximum efficiency in cold weather. To understand why that is, you need to understand a bit about the science that makes solar panels work. It all comes down to the movement of electrons within the panels.

A solar panel creates electrical voltage when the electrons in the top panel layer enter an excited state when struck by sunlight. This causes the electrons to migrate to the panel’s lower layer, creating an electric current in the process. The voltage of that current depends on the energy difference between the excited electrons and those at rest in the panel.

Colder temperatures cause the electrons within a solar panel’s layers to reach their lowest-energy state. In other words, they’re more entirely at rest than they are in the heat. That increases the voltage a panel will produce when struck by sunlight. While it doesn’t erase the energy losses created by shorter winter days, it does offset them somewhat.

Dealing With Decreased Winter Solar Production

While your home will get less electricity from its solar panels in the winter, what it does get is still helpful to your bottom line. And if your home has net energy metering, you’ll understand this very quickly. When your panels produce the maximum amount of electricity in the summer, your monthly electric bills will drop significantly. That’s despite summer being the time when most homes reach peak electricity usage due to their air conditioning needs.

The key to that lies in the appropriate sizing of your rooftop solar system. The larger a rooftop solar array you install on your home, the more significant your savings will be. Although it is possible to build a solar array that exceeds your home’s power needs, few homeowners choose to do that. Financially, most opt for a lower-cost system that partially covers their home’s power needs. That way, they cut their bills in peak usage months and have some security in case of a blackout.

Trust the Solar Experts

There you have it. Although your home’s rooftop solar array will produce less power in the winter, it will remain reliable year-round. So, if you’re considering the addition of a rooftop solar array to your Fort Worth home, you have nothing to fear when the temperature drops. You will, however, want the experts at Miller Storm Roofing & Reconstruction to design and build your system for you.

We’re a family-owned roofing and reconstruction company with years of experience handling all kinds of residential and commercial roofing work. That includes designing and installing solar panel systems for homes all around Fort Worth. Our team can help you choose the right size system to meet your home’s energy needs and household budget and install it on your roof. You won’t find solar panel experts like ours anywhere else in the area.

If you’re ready to add a solar panel system to your Fort Worth home, contact Miller Storm Roofing & Reconstruction immediately!

company icon