With enough solar installed in Oregon to power almost 170,000 homes, many homeowners are wiping out their power bill and gaining energy independence.
But you might be wondering how well solar panels handle Oregon weather, especially in the western part of the state where rainy weather is the norm.
That question makes sense. Solar is most often associated with sunny states like Arizona, but that doesn’t mean solar only works in states with near constant sun.
With solar being more efficient than ever before, and with access to policies like net metering in Oregon, homeowners can invest in owning their power and save despite some rain.
Keep reading as we look at how solar energy systems handle rain, hail, smoky conditions from wildfires and more!
Solar in Oregon’s Climate
To understand why solar is still a great investment in Oregon, we need to understand how solar works. Specifically how the most common type of panels used for home solar, photovoltaics, convert sunlight to energy.
While many people might assume solar panels need warm weather to work, photovoltaic solar panels actually just need light from the sun to turn light into energy. This is because the panels convert sunlight into electricity by reacting to UV light.
Interesting fact: solar actually works best in temperatures cooler than 80 degrees. So a temperate sunny spring in Oregon could see better energy production than a blazing hot and constantly sun-filled summer in Florida.
But doesn’t that mean that if solar needs light in order to produce electricity, that in a state like Oregon with the rainy season that solar can’t work?
Thankfully, no! While solar produces energy most efficiently with direct sunlight, photovoltaic panels are efficient enough that they can produce a good amount of energy even during overcast weather.
Plus, a clean panel produces better than one with dust or debris accumulated on it. Rainy weather can help keep your panels clean, which in turn can yield better energy production overall.
But Solar Can’t Work at Night, Right?
You’re right that solar doesn’t work at night yet. That’s where net metering helps homeowners who go solar continue to save and power their homes, even during stormy weather and in the middle of the night.
So how can solar power your home year round during rainy weather and long winter nights?
When homeowners in Oregon get solar installed at home, the power company is legally required to install a second meter in addition to the normal meter all homes connected to the electrical grid have. That new meter is known as your net meter.
While all homes connected to the grid have a meter tracking any electricity flowing into your home from the grid, homes with solar have a net meter that tracks the electricity you send back to the grid.
In Oregon, when you go solar most power companies are required to provide homeowners with compensation for every kilowatt of electricity they send back onto it. That compensation appears as a credit on your account with the power company maintaining the grid in your area. You can use that credit to cover any electricity you need to pull from the grid during the night, a winter storm, or if you just happen to use more electricity than normal one month.
With 156 days of sun in Oregon on average, your solar can still help you wipe out your power bill, even when your panels can’t generate electricity.
Ash, Hail, and Solar
Okay, so we’ve covered that Oregon’s rainy weather doesn’t mean solar can’t be a great investment for homeowners. But what about hail, freezing weather, and even ash from a summer wildfire?
With professionally installed solar, your system can withstand storms of all kinds. From a spring squall with hail, to an icy freeze during the dead of winter.
Solar panels today are manufactured to a standard that means they can withstand things like hail falling at up to 50 miles per hour, 112 pounds per square foot of snow, winds up to 140mph, and temperatures down to -40º.
As for ash from wildfires, while the panels will still receive enough UV light through smoke and smog to work, if you’re concerned about ash collecting on your panels all you need to do is grab your garden hose and a spray nozzle, and give them a quick rinse.
With solar installed by a professional solar company like Purelight, your solar energy system will be done right the first time and ready for whatever mother nature brings!
Plus, Purelight’s trio of warranties and guarantees can help you to feel confident that your system is well-protected.
Oregon Solar Can Handle It!
Ready to stop renting your power and save with solar? Let Purelight’s local solar experts make your switch to solar simple and affordable!
With a quick 30 second survey you can check if your roof qualifies for our $0 out of pocket solar.
Start saving with solar from Purelight Power today!