Snow on solar panels.

How Do Solar Panels Perform In Snow?

Do solar panels work in snow? It comes as a surprise to many, but the science behind solar panels actually favors colder climates. When solar energy comes to mind, we often think of California, Arizona, Florida, and other states that have incredible amounts of sunshine and heat. However, research and data tells a story most aren’t accustomed to. Although snow on solar panels can alter the production, cold climates make the production rise.

The physics behind solar technology works like this: when HEAT hits a solar panel, electrons begin to move and generate energy. What’s interesting is that research has shown that in temperatures reaching 77 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, the efficiency of solar panels begin to reduce, because heat causes higher resistance toward the electrons. Therefore, the resistance diminishes energy production in higher temperatures, ultimately producing less energy.

Solar panels also don’t need heat to work. They need light.

As long sun rays are hitting panels, there is energy being produced. This is why in winter months, heat is not a factor. Your panels will produce just as well, if not better than usual.

Because colder weather allows for greater energy production, and sun rays still shine bright as ever on cold days, solar energy is very suitable and realistic for Midwest, northern, and colder climates.

Solar panels in the winter: the popularity of PV in cold climates

Sunny states (like CaliforniaArizona and Florida) are not the only places where solar makes sense. In fact, the top 10 cities for solar in the U.S. aren’t the sunniest ones. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) ranks MassachusettsNew Jersey, and New York in the top 10 for states with the highest amount of installed solar in 2019, with large percentages of solar installations coming during winter weather months. This is largely due to the fact that electricity prices are one of the biggest drivers of solar savings ­– the higher your electricity rates, the more money you will save by going solar.

According to, they liken solar to other practical examples: “Consider Germany, whose sunshine levels are similar to Alaska’s. For over a decade, this northern European country has led the world in solar panel installations, and solar makes a significant contribution to their national energy mix. Although other countries, including the U.S. and China, are starting to catch up, Germany’s success is a shining example of how winter weather solar can work in countries across the globe. On an international level, solar panels and snow certainly do go together.”

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