As more homeowners in Montana claim their energy independence with solar, many are wondering how well solar panels handle Montana weather.
From winter blizzards, strong Chinook winds, changeable spring weather, and of course the warm, dry summers, Montana’s weather is as varied as its people.
So it makes sense that solar, which is often associated with being useful only in constantly sunny states like Arizona, might make homeowners wary. But the good news is that solar is as rugged as the Montana wilderness, and can handle most everything mother nature can throw at it.
Keep reading as we look at how solar energy systems handle snow, hail, high winds and more!
Solar in Montana’s Climate
To understand how solar holds up to weather in Montana, it’s good to understand how solar works. Especially the most common type of panels used for home solar: photovoltaics.
Because photovoltaic solar only needs light from the sun to function, warm weather is actually less useful than you’d think. When UV light hits the panels, it causes a chemical reaction that turns into electricity to power your home. But solar actually works best in temperatures cooler than 80 degrees.But does solar need constant bright light in order to produce electricity?
Thankfully, no! Solar panels produce most efficiently with direct sunlight, but the panels installed for home solar can produce energy even during overcast days.
So a Montana winter, with cold but many crisp and sunny days, can actually wind up with better energy production from solar panels than a searingly hot summer in California. Couple that with long stretches of sunny, temperate summer weather, and solar in Montana is a great investment.
What About at Night?
Montana is pretty far north in the U.S., which means that while the winter days might be bright a fair amount of the time, they’re also short.
And along with beautiful winter weather to enjoy Montana’s great outdoors comes the inevitable, rain, snow, and ice.
So how can solar power your home year round if you only see sun for about half of the winter days in Montana? Through the process known as net metering.
When you get solar installed on your home, the power company will also install what is known as a net meter. While your normal meter tracks any electricity flowing into your home from the grid, a net meter tracks the electricity you send back to the grid.
Depending on which power company your home is connected to the grid by, you’ll receive a certain amount of compensation for every kilowatt of electricity you send back onto it.
During rainy weather and dark nights, you can use those credits to cover any energy you need to pull from the grid. That’s how solar can make sure you still don’t have a power bill, even when your panels can’t generate electricity.
Solar in Stormy Weather
But what about Montana’s infamous Chinook winds? Can solar panels withstand that sort of weather?
With professionally installed solar, your system can withstand storms of all kinds. From a thunderstorm, to a winter blizzard.
The manufacturing standards of today for solar panels means they are able to withstand things like one-inch hail falling at up to 50 miles per hour, and 112 pounds per square foot of snow.
With a system installed by local professionals like Purelight, your panels are placed on your roof at a specific angle to help snow slide off, leaves blow right on through, and act as a shield for your roof!
Most importantly? Solar can also withstand wind up to 140mph! Given that Chinook winds usually top out around 100mph, your solar should be fine.
Still wary of investing in solar? Hopefully Purelight’s trio of warranties and guarantees, will help you to feel confident that your system is well-protected.
Purelight Solar Is As Tough As Any Montanan!
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