Reasons to invest in solar power during the winter
There’s a common misconception among people that solar power is ineffective since it’s unavailable year-round, especially during the winter when the hours of sunshine drop dramatically. They use this as a reason to be critical of the renewable energy source and its viability, without taking a thorough and comprehensive look. With this article, we’ll explain why you should invest in solar power during the winter.
Production is more efficient during the winter
There is a complicated relationship between photovoltaic (PV) cells, heat, and sunlight. The general assumption that a panel is most effective when there’s sunlight is true, but not when it’s too hot. As the temperature rises, PV cells become more resistant because they are semiconductors. The higher temperatures force the photons inside to move at a greater range, restricting the flow of the electrons. Consequently, the efficiency of the panel drops.
Manufacturers assign their products a temperature coefficient. For example, a panel can have a coefficient of -0.5. This means that for every 1°C above 25°C, the efficiency of the panel drops by 0.5%. Given this law of thermodynamics, bright, sunny, and cold days during the winter are the best for production, while warm summer days are the worst. It’s just that there are fewer hours of sunshine during the winter than the summer. Thinking about all of this, winter is the best time to invest in solar power.
Australia sees a high number of sunshine hours throughout the year
Most people don’t invest in solar power because of fewer hours of sunshine during the winter. This might be the case in some countries, but not in Australia, where there’s plenty of sunshine throughout the year.
Brisbane and Sydney have the sunniest winters in the country, with a minimum of 6 hours of sunshine a day. A quarter of a day with the bright sun is plenty to generate solar electricity, especially when we know how efficient PV cells are in colder temperatures. Check the table below for average sunshine hours in Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane during the summer months.
Average hours of daily sunshine during the summer
In Sydney and Brisbane, in particular, there’s plenty of sunshine every day during the winter for solar panels to be operational. The numbers are lower in Melbourne, but having three to four hours a day of sunlight is enough to offset a part of your utility expenses.
Check this graphic created by the Bureau of Meteorology for data on sunshine hours in your locale, especially if you’re outside the cities mentioned above.
A method of reducing your electricity costs
It’s a given fact that utility costs are always on the rise, firstly due to the depleting reserves of fossil fuels, and secondly because of general inflationary pressure. Nowadays, due to decreasing equipment and installation charges, you can invest in solar power at a lower cost. These factors make it an ideal time to consider renewable energy systems.
Renewable energy systems use net metering, where you get credit for unused energy that is produced and fed into the electricity grid. Your meter goes backwards, and you’re loaning electricity to the utility company. When your production drops, your usage rises and the meter moves forward, using those energy credits you generated.
Given this process, it makes a tremendous amount of sense to install a system during winter, right before the sunniest months of the year to build up your energy bank.
Invest in solar power and increase real estate values
This point is more evergreen and applies throughout the year when we consider any solar setup. A home with a system installed will naturally be more valuable in the market, since potential buyers are able to save on utility costs from the day they move in. If your house has a renewable energy system, you’re likely to make more money on its sale.
In addition, it’s around 20% cheaper to install a system for a home under construction than setting one up after the house is built. The renewable energy models are ideal for homes both before and after construction.
There is absolutely no reason not to invest in solar power, even after considering seasonal climates. As we mentioned above, production is more efficient in the winter, and with plenty of sunshine in Australia year-round, it’s a perfect solution to a cleaner, cost-effective energy solution. If you’re interested in looking at various models and systems on the market, check out our products page for some of the most trusted names in the business.