As we enter the heart of the “cold” season, it’s a good time to remember how great winter is in South Florida. We might not have a white Christmas to look forward to, but we get plenty of other benefits. One thing we can celebrate is how well-suited Florida is for solar panels in winter.
The good and bad of solar energy in the winter
There’s a lot of confusion about how well solar panels work in the winter. People think about freezing temperatures and blustery storms, wondering how it’s a good idea to have a roof covered in electronics at such a time.
There are some pros and cons about how winter treats solar panels overall.
Cold is good for electronics.
Despite what many people believe, cold winter days are great for producing electricity via photo voltaic (PV) cells. Solar installations, like most electronics, work better in cooler environments. That’s why the server room at your office is so chilly. It’s why your laptop starts to get a little sluggish when it heats up.
So, while the deserts of Arizona get plenty of sunshine, the solar systems there aren’t as efficient as those in colder states.
But cold isn’t the only thing that comes with winter. It also brings the obstacles of snow and shorter days.
Snow blocks solar panels.
There’s a reason South Florida sees a yearly migration of snowbirds from the north. If you haven’t experienced it for yourself, ask any of your seasonal friends what “real winter” looks like up in places like Vermont, Connecticut, or North Dakota.
Their answers will call up visions of Game of Thrones. And just imagine that snow piled on top of your solar panels, reflecting the sunshine and preventing your system from producing any electricity.
Fewer hours of daylight.
Another issue for our northern neighbors is the shorter days of winter. In places like Seattle or Augusta (Maine rather than Georgia), the shortest days in December have fewer than nine hours of sunlight.
And with solar systems, less sunlight means less electricity.
Why Florida is great for solar panels in the winter
If solar panels still make sense even in the coldest areas of the US, you can imagine that Florida is prime real estate for year-round solar energy. Here are the three main reasons:
1) Cooler temperatures
We never get computer-lab-cold here in Boca, but the drop in temperature during the winter months allows our solar systems to work more efficiently.
2) Plenty of sunshine
Since we’re closer to the equator, we don’t see drastic shifts in sunlight like our snowbirds. In South Florida, our days are nearly ten and a half hours, even on the shortest days of the year. That leaves plenty of time for solar panels to do their work.
3) No snow
And since we rarely see below freezing temperatures, we don’t have to worry about snow or frozen rain accumulating and blocking the sun.
Once again, Floridians have a reason to celebrate mild winters. In this case, it’s because we can enjoy year-round clean and abundant energy. If you’re wondering how solar panels in winter can benefit your Boca Raton home, contact the Jablon Team.
Marc Jablon, the Jablon Team