The summer is over and autumn quickly moves towards winter. As the days become shorter and colder, thoughts turn towards indoor activities and snowstorms. It’s important to assess your home’s energy system, especially if it is solar-powered. This will ensure your home stays warm and your electronic and power-drawing appliances are working efficiently and smoothly. How to manage solar panels during winter? How can you make sure that your solar system is safe and able to provide the energy needed by your household?
A recent report by Environment America Research & Policy Center found that many of the top 25 U.S. cities with solar energy have cold, snowy winters. This includes Burlington (VT), Indianapolis, Indiana, Denver, Colorado, and Albuquerque (New Mexico). This is a clear indication that solar power systems can adapt to snowy and overcast winters, both domestically and internationally. It all depends on your location and the individual solar system you have. To achieve the highest efficiency and best cost benefits, there are some important maintenance steps that can be taken. Let’s start with how to use solar panel in winter.
1. You may need to intervene if snow has accumulated on top of your solar panel. Use a roof rake or a broom to remove snow from your solar panels. This will not scratch the panel’s tempered glass surface. For snow removal, ground-level panel mounts can be reached easily. However, roof-mounted panels may need to wait until the snow melts. These panels are dark-colored and coated with anti-reflective materials. They can absorb heat and light, and melt faster than the ambient temperature. Be careful when brushing snow from rooftop units. If necessary, wear high-grip shoes and a harness
2. Adjusting the Angle of Solar Panels: Directly facing the sun is the best position for solar panels. Adjusting the angle of solar panels can help increase energy production, as the sun’s path changes with the seasons. Adjusting the angles of solar panels is not possible with pole-mounted panels. Fixed panels are not eligible for this modification, as the installation team has often planned for maximum sunlight exposure.
3. Energy conservation: While energy conservation is a good practice at all times of the year, it is especially important to conserve energy during winter months. This is because energy is most in demand. You will be less dependent on utility companies for supplemental energy if you use less energy.
Here are some ways to reduce electricity consumption:
- Energy efficient lightbulbs include compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), halogen incandescent (HAL) and light-emitting dimmers (LEDs). While energy-saving lightbulbs are more expensive at first, their lifespans (energy-saving bulbs last between 3 and 25 times longer than regular incandescent) as well as high efficiency will make them worth it. There are many options in this area of technology. There are many energy-efficient bulbs available, and some emit warm, soft tones of light.
- Unneeded appliances and lights should be turned off. Unused lights and appliances should be turned off. Smart thermostats and timers for thermostats and lights can be used to synchronize energy usage, reducing wasted energy and the associated costs.
- If you need extra warmth, consider turning down the thermostat and using blankets or sweaters.
- You can improve the insulation in your home by checking its condition. You can seal any cracks or holes around windows and doors, and you might also consider insulate your water heater.
- Use solar-powered, independent lamps to light outdoor areas like gardens and walkways.
Remove any appliances and devices not in use. Even if an item is turned off, a wall socket connection still draws small amounts of current. This is called “standby electricity loss”.
4. Off-Grid Systems Battery Maintenance. If you are using an off-grid setup for solar energy, your battery pack must be maintained and checked regularly. Your batteries’ ability to store energy is crucial. Temperature is a key aspect of battery maintenance, as all types have different thermal ranges to ensure optimal performance. Extreme temperatures, hot or cold can cause battery failure and damage. It is suggested that battery packs be installed and/or stored either indoors or in an insulated, temperature-controlled area.
The type of battery you have will determine the amount of maintenance required. Distilled water should be added to flooded lead-acid battery every two to four week, since these batteries lose water throughout the charge cycle. A hydrometer or digital multimeter can be used to check the battery’s state of charge periodically. This is because specific gravity (which corresponds with the level of charge) should be read. To ensure equal charging, it is recommended that flooded lead-acid batteries be equalized by controlled overcharging every 60-90 days. To prevent corrosion, it is important to clean connections and terminals. Because they don’t require any maintenance, AGM (Absorbent Gas Mat) and deep cycle 12V Lithium are more practical and easy to use with off grid solar systems. You can monitor them with The Inverter Store’s premium charge controller to maximize safety and efficiency.
5. Backup Generator: The recommended discharge levels for solar cells vary depending on the manufacturer’s specifications and battery type. Because it provides power supply for unavoidable high-use days, 50% is the ideal level. It is a good idea to have plenty of fuel and a reliable backup generator to ensure you have power at all times. You can be assured of complete peace of mind with our selection of CARB/EPA-compliant generators. It is important to check the condition of your generator once a month so that it can be prepared for winter storms. Your home will be able to provide sufficient power during winter by paying attention to how it functions and the quality of its solar power equipment, including inverters and battery pack chargers and solar panels. You can also model positive behavior by taking part in energy-related maintenance. This will help to reduce your energy costs and provide a positive example of responsibility for all members of the family.