The Times
The Times

Why You Should Maintain Your Solar Panels in Winter

Solar panels give you easy access to free, renewable energy from the sun. They’re great for anyone who’s looking to manage their power bills, and a Brisbane electrician can design a system that potentially saves you thousands.

When we talk about solar panels, most people instantly think of summer. The long days and soaring temperatures seem like the perfect time to harvest energy from the sun. But Australians actually use more energy during winter when the days are short and the temperatures are cold. That begs the question of whether solar panels are even effective during winter, and lots of customers want to know how they can get more from their solar in the colder months.

We’re going to take a look at the way solar power works and why you should maintain your solar panels in winter!

How Effective are Solar Panels in Winter?

One of the big questions we hear is about how well solar panels perform throughout the year, especially during winter.

To answer that question we need to quickly discuss how solar panels actually make electricity. There’s a common myth that solar panels need heat to make power. In reality, it’s the light itself that generates the electricity in a solar panel. As the light from the sun comes down, it causes the electrons in each solar cell to begin moving and creating electricity, and that power can then be captured for use around your home.

The heat that builds up in solar panels can actually have a negative impact on how much power they’re making. This means that Australia’s mild winter days are actually beneficial to the efficiency of your solar panels.

Maximise Your Solar Panels this Winter

Solar panels are more efficient when they stay cool, but that doesn’t mean your panels will produce more power during winter. With fewer daylight hours and the sun being lower in the sky, you can expect to see solar panels producing about 2% to 15% less power during winter. And, with winter being Australia’s most power-hungry time of year, that drop in efficiency can hit you right in the wallet.

If you want to get more from your solar during winter then there are a few simple things you can do:

  • * Program your heater or air conditioner to turn off during the night and at the warmest parts of the day

  • Open the curtains during the day to let sunlight in

  • Close the curtains at night to insulate your windows

  • Run power-hungry appliances when your solar panels are producing the most electricity

  • Turn off anything you aren’t using at the wall

  • Switch to energy saving devices, appliances and LED lighting

The best way to maximise your solar panels this winter is to invest in regular maintenance. Solar maintenance programs are designed to look after your solar panels and keep them functioning at full capacity. Regular maintenance ensures your solar panels are clean and that small issues are repaired before they turn into major headaches. Staying on top of those two maintenance items can go a long way to keeping your solar panels in top condition year-round.

Protect Your Solar Batteries, Inverters and Charge Controllers

While Australia’s mild winters are the ideal temperature for solar panel efficiency, the cold weather isn’t great for some of the other system components. Batteries, inverters and charge controllers are essential components in modern solar systems, but dropping temperatures can dramatically shorten their lifespan.

Solar batteries are the most likely to be affected by winter temperatures. While all batteries behave differently in winter, it’s important to make sure yours are stored in a place that keeps them warm during the coldest months. Even the most advanced solar batteries will deplete faster during winter. To avoid the expense of replacing your house batteries, let an electrician assess and winter-proof your solar system to protect it from unnecessary damage.

Get Ahead of the Summer Rush

Having your solar panels serviced during winter is a great way to offset your extra power consumption. It’s also the best time of year to make an appointment if you want to get ahead of the summer rush. Most people don’t start worrying about their solar power until they turn on their air conditioning in summer. Booking your solar panel maintenance during winter makes it much easier to get ahold of a Brisbane electrician. If you’d like to book an appointment that works around your schedule and take advantage of seasonal discounts, winter is the best time to book your solar panel maintenance.