How Solar Panels in Iowa Perform During Winter

by | Dec 10, 2021

Will a solar system still produce enough power through cold, snowy winters? For many Iowans considering solar, that one question is at the front of their minds.

It’s a fair question, but there’s no need for homeowners to worry. Despite any snowfall or storms, your panels will still provide your home with energy regardless of what your local meteorologist has for the daily weather report. 

In the next few paragraphs, we’ll cover everything you need to know about how solar panels are affected during winter in Iowa.

Keep reading as we cover how solar energy systems produce electricity despite harsh, midwest snowstorms, and how to remove snow if it doesn’t slide or melt off. Like if Iowa sees another record breaking winter in 2022 like the 2021 blizzards.

Can Solar Panels Produce Energy on Cloudy Days?

While solar panels produce the most power during times of direct sunlight, panels can actually produce more efficiently in colder temperatures.

The panels, like anything electronic, work better when they’re not over exposed to heat. During humid and hot summer weather, the temperature of the air can decrease the efficiency of the panels (by just a bit). 

When it’s cold, panels can take that crisp winter sunlight and process it just a little bit better.

What about during other weather? During an overcast day, your system slightly decreases in production depending on how thick the cloud cover is. But cloudy days aren’t all bad. An effect called “edge of cloud” could actually lead to an increase in electricity production by your system.

When the sun passes through the cloud, almost like a magnifying glass, those clouds actually intensify the rays of the sun. 

Sometimes, especially in Iowa springs, rain accompanies those clouds. Again, contrary to what you might expect, rain can actually be beneficial for your solar panels by providing a natural way to clean your panels.

Having mother nature take care of a bit of spring cleaning for you sounds pretty great.

Iowa Winter Solar Panels CTA

Can Solar Panels Work During Snowy Weather?

Now you may wonder how your solar panels will produce in winter weather, or if they can withstand heavy snowfall.

The great news is that, yes, solar panels that are professionally installed can withstand storms of all kinds, including snow storms and hail storms. The panels themselves are able to withstand hail falling at up to 50 miles per hour, and can withstand 112 pounds per square foot of snow.

Heavy snowfall might cover your panels and block them from gathering sunlight and generating electricity, but it won’t break them.

Depending on what kind of weather is followed by the snowstorm, and because your panels from Purelight Power are intentionally installed at an angle, it’s easy for the snow to melt and slide right off your panels. 

One unexpected great thing about snow? Similar to how rain can help keep your panels clean, when the snow melts it also cleans off the dirt and residue that may have accumulated prior to the snow storm. Snow melting and cleaning your panels can actually help increase the efficiency of your system. 

If you’re concerned about what this all means for saving money with solar, you still don’t need to worry. When put into perspective over a full year, snow storms don’t really affect the total power your panels generate, and won’t affect the savings you get from your solar energy system year round. 

When you have snow storms that do cover your panels long enough to affect generation of electricity, net metering comes into play. 

Net Metering: Powering Your Home Through Any Storm

During those summer months when your system is producing more energy than what you’re consuming, the excess energy goes back into the grid. The excess energy is then added to your account with the power company as a credit for those times where you aren’t able to produce enough energy for your home. 

In other words, the extra power your panels produce is fed back through the grid to your home whenever you need it and you won’t pay extra.

Even when snow storms do mean your system isn’t able to produce any electricity, you’ll have the credit on your account to cover any electricity you do need to pull from the grid. 

When designing your system, any good solar company will take a look at your yearly energy consumption. So with a Purelight Power system designed to generate all your electricity needs and more, a snowstorm or two doesn’t affect your system’s ability to generate electricity in a way that will affect you at home. 

What If The Snow Doesn’t Melt?

When your system is designed for your rooftop, your panels are installed at an angle. This makes it easy for snow to slide off the panel. Your panels also produce heat, which melts the snow.

So sometimes your roof may still be covered in snow, but the panels themselves are completely free of snow because their heat has melted them clean. 

During the rare times when snow doesn’t slide off of your panels, there are a couple of methods you can use in order to help with that. Like a roof rake which is one of the most popular tools for snow removal.

But make sure that you have one specifically designed for cleaning solar panels, and that you know ahead of time if your solar installation company has any rules with their warranties about damage to the panels caused by cleaning.

Solar Panels Winter Iowa Infographic

Get Clean Solar Energy at Home Year Round!

With Purelight Power, your local, experienced solar installer in Iowa, you get solar that is designed for your home and Iowa’s climate.

Want to find out how much you can save with professional solar that’s simple and affordable?

Take our quick 30 second survey right now to find out if your roof qualifies! 

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