How Do Your DIY Photovoltaic Panels Feel About the Weather? Posted on 12 Apr 09:00

Weather vs. Solar Panels

If you’re installing DIY photovoltaic panels on your home or business, you’ll want to know everything about them first.

One important consideration is how the weather in your area might affect their performance and care.

How do DIY solar panels feel about the weather?

Solar panels, including your DIY photovoltaic system, are positioned to capture the maximum amount of energy possible. Placement on a rooftop or on the ground in a clearing is necessary to optimize their exposure to the sun. Unfortunately, this also leaves the system continually exposed to the elements.

Let’s take a closer look at how various weather conditions can affect your photovoltaic panels.

Reduced Energy Absorption of Solar Panels

As you know, when the surfaces of your DIY photovoltaic panels are blocked from the sun, their capacity to absorb solar energy is diminished.

A reasonably dense cloud cover can cause your system production to drop by 40 percent or more, and thick fog can lead to an even more significant reduction in energy absorption.

Dust storms, such as those seen in the desert areas of the Southwest, can cause a similar loss of system output, as they prevent sunlight from reaching the photovoltaic panels. Fortunately, dust storms usually don’t last that long.

In colder climates, snow accumulation can cause your PV panels to function less effectively. In many cases, the dark color and tilt of the panels help snow melt off quickly.

Weather-Related Damage to Solar Panels

Even if you live in a climate that experiences severe storms and weather events, you have little cause for worry.

DIY photovoltaic panels are designed to be incredibly tough and capable of enduring strong winds. As long as they are installed securely, they can even withstand powerful gusts and heavy sustained winds.

Solar energy systems are also quite resilient to extreme temperatures, hail and lightning. Although it’s rare, damage can occur in violent weather. A large hailstone or lightning strike, for example, could crack one of your panels or shatter a portion of your array.

This type of damage is not typically covered under most solar panel warranties, but your system is likely protected under your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Benefiting from the Clouds

Most of the time, cloudy skies mean less energy production from your DIY photovoltaic panel system. But if the sky is filled with a certain type of clouds, your solar panel output actually can be boosted.

Cumulus clouds — the white, fluffy clouds that resemble cotton and appear in fair weather — reflect the sun’s rays as they pass through the sky, concentrating the light and increasing its power. This weather condition, called the edge-of-cloud effect, delivers a noticeable burst of energy to your photovoltaic system.

Although periodic weather can affect your solar energy output in the short term, what matters most is how much sunshine your photovoltaic system gets over the course of the entire year.

Check out the Solar GOODs system design tool to learn how much money you can save by installing a panel array on your home or business. This comprehensive calculator uses data from the National Renewable Energy Lab’s PVWatts tool to evaluate your specific location and calculate your system size and energy savings.

Visit our online solar superstore and kick-start your energy independence by ordering your DIY photovoltaic panel kit today.