Wondering what frequently asked questions people have about solar panels this summer?
It’s that time of the year again — temperatures are blazing and you’re sweating up a storm. With your electricity bill climbing up to the sky, are you wondering if solar is the right choice for your home?
We’ve got quite a bit of content that dives into the nitty gritty benefits of going solar. But here’s what people want to know this summer. Check out these burning hot, hot summer frequently asked questions.
7 Frequently Asked Questions About Solar Panels
Thinking about going solar and wondering if this year is your year? Maybe you’ve been driving around your neighborhood and seeing solar panels glisten on many of your neighbors’ rooftops. Let’s take a look at a few of this season’s hot topics.
1. Is solar panel output better in the summer vs. winter?
When it comes to solar panels, efficiency is the name of the game. Solar panel technology is constantly evolving to maximize energy production. But currently, achieving optimal power output still depends on how much sunlight your home has access to.
For more information on solar panel technological advancements, check out our blog.
While we know that solar panels can work on cloudy days, it’s understandable why you’re wondering if solar panel output is better in the summer vs. the winter. In fact, check out our blog on solar panels in cloudy weather.
This is an age-old debate that doesn’t really have an answer. In the winter, solar panels have the capacity to “produce more power for each precious hour of sunshine during the short days of winter.”
A general good rule of thumb is: cooler temperatures could allow for technology to run more efficiently. However, this isn’t true for extreme winter temperatures, winter storms, or the damage caused by heavy snowfall. Snow and ice could decrease your solar panel efficiency, but it’s short-lived. Ultimately, favorable weather allows snow to melt or slide off the panels.
In the summer, solar panels could generate “up to 80 percent more energy” when compared to production in the winter. The bottom line: summer months produce more sun and winter just can’t compete. Solar panel output is better in the summer because systems have more access to the sun for longer. Keep reading to find out more.
2. Why is there more solar energy in the summer?
These summer-edition frequently asked questions don’t all necessarily have to do with solar panels, but this one in particular ties in pretty nicely to production. You don’t have to crack open a science textbook to know that the days are longer in the summer. And every year, the summer solstice brings the longest day of the year.
That could mean great things for homeowners with solar panels. The sun stays in the highest position in the sky the longest during the summer. Solar panels will have access to the best sun peak hours of the year during this time.
For more information read our blog about how to calculate sun peak hours.
3. Do solar panels work better on hot days?
Summer, summer, summertime! We know what you’re thinking: more sunlight means more power. While summer days can mean great things for your solar panels, this isn’t necessarily true. Extreme temperatures could impact solar panel efficiency.
Most solar panels are expected to perform at their peak when temperatures are between 59°F and 95°F. That means extreme cold and extreme heat could tip your solar panels out of their optimal range. Unfortunately, extreme weather conditions are becoming more frequent due to global warming.
That’s why it’s so important that solar panels produce clean electricity for your home. They reduce your carbon footprint and help you do your part to reduce pollution. So, do solar panels work better on hot days? It depends on how hot the temperature gets.
4. Which month has the greatest solar array efficiency?
Do we have to pick just one? We’ve already discussed how summer could be the best time for solar panel production. Solar efficiency is the ratio of energy output from the solar cell to input energy from the sun. While efficiency can be measured with a baseline temperature (usually 77°F), the amount of electricity your home generates will depend on your specific installation.
If you’re concerned about your solar panel efficiency, it’s best to learn all there is to know about solar monitoring. A good solar monitoring system, such as the Enphase App, can keep track of your energy consumption, monitor how much energy is generated and provide insight on when your solar panels are running at their best.
Which month has the greatest solar array efficiency? It doesn’t matter if we choose June, July, or August, because no installation is alike. Your solar array efficiency will depend on how often your solar panels have access to sunlight at its peak.
5. How many solar panels would it take to power a house in the summer?
Summertime fun doesn’t have to come at the expense of your budget. If you know anything about solar panels, you know they pack quite the power punch. The average solar panel can produce about 170 to 350 watts every hour, depending on the climate and the location of your home. In fact, solar panels produce so much energy that we’ve compiled a blog of a few awesome things our customers’ roofs can power.
So, how many solar panels would it take to power a house in the summer? That depends. To answer the question specifically, we’ve got a blog for that, too. But the short answer is, there are many factors that should be considered when determining how many solar panels you’ll need.
For starters, think about how much energy your family consumes in a year. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), “…the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,715 kilowatthours (kWh).” Consequently, a house utilizing that much energy will need about 20 to 25 solar panels to be fully powered by solar energy. The best bet for calculating how many solar panels you’ll need is to contact one of our Solar Energy Specialists.
6. Should I adjust my solar panel tilt in the summer?
There’s a reason this one made the frequently asked question list. The things is, solar panel orientation depends on your specific installation. But it’s safe to say there’s a lot of chatter about which direction is best. Ideally, when your system was installed, your solar panel installer would have taken the time to configure the best position to place your solar panels. This includes determining the tilt, which allows the solar panel system to receive the optimal amount of sunlight at all times.
The first thing you want to do is find out if you have a fixed-tilt solar panel system or if it can be adjusted. This will determine if tilting your solar panels on your own is even an option. Next, you’ll want to calculate the optimum tilt angle.
It is believed that solar panels will receive a boost in performance if they’re adjusted twice a year, once for summer and once for winter.
Once you find out your latitude, here’s a quick way to calculate your ideal tilt:
- For summer: subtract 15° from your latitude
- For winter: add 15° to your latitude
Before making a decision about adjusting your solar panel tilt for the summer, it’s a good idea to consult your solar panel installer. Or, give one of our Solar Energy Specialists a call to get all your questions answered.
7. Do solar panels cool your roof?
With temperatures steadily rising, it’s no wonder you’re looking for ways to keep cool. Believe it or not, studies show that solar panels can actually keep your roof cool. According to this study conducted by researcher Jan Kleissl, solar panels act as shades for your roof. Talk about a cool look for the summer.
Solar panels are a physical barrier that blocks heat from making contact with your roof. This lessens how much heat actually makes it inside. The study also showed that the more efficient the solar panels, the less heat makes it to the roof.
Moreover, a cooling effect is created through a convection current between your roof and your solar panels. Yes, it’s true. Solar panels cool your roof, too!
Keep Cool This Summer with Solar Panels
It’s going to be a hot, hot summer. But don’t throw your electricity bill in the bonfire! If you’ve learned one thing from these frequently asked questions, it’s that solar panels could be the key to keeping your home cooler for less this summer. With solar panels, you can keep an eye on your consumption and keep a few dollars in the bank. Hopefully, we’ve tackled some of the hottest frequently asked questions you might have.
Contact one of our Solar Energy Specialists today and learn more about how solar panels can keep you cool this summer.