Sunny weather and falling air pollution helped to boost the UK’s solar farms to a new record.
As reported by many sources, the UK’s electricity system recorded its “greenest” ever month in May after running without coal-fired electricity for a full calendar month. This came shortly after the news of, Solar Power reaching a peak of 9.68GW, therefore breaking the all-time generation record meeting almost 30% of UK electricity demand in April.
The UK is currently experiencing significantly lower than usual levels of pollution as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown. This has contributed to clearer conditions, which, combined with relatively cool temperatures, provide optimal conditions for maximising solar PV efficiency.
Let’s take a look further at what happens when different weather conditions and solar panels meet.
How Weather Affects Solar Panel Efficiency?
A common concern among first-time solar buyers is the effect of weather on solar panels. For the most part, there is little to worry about. Like your trusty postal carrier, a good-quality solar panel will work despite rain, snow and hail. However, it would be untrue to claim that weather does not affect panel efficiency.
Temperature affects all electronic devices, and solar panels are no exception.
One of the key factors impacting the amount of electricity your solar panels produce is the temperature at which they operate.
Many people think high temperatures benefit solar. However, high temperatures can affect the efficiency of solar panels. Increasing temperatures will raise the rest state of electrons which will result in a lower voltage, known as a voltage drop. This voltage drop will equal lower output from your panels. Nonetheless, efficiency will balance itself out because with warm weather comes a lot of sun.
Clouds, Rain and Fog:
Anything that blocks the sun’s rays will affect panel efficiency, including clouds, fog, mist and smog. At noon, the effect of various cloud types on panel production range from almost no loss for wispy cirrus clouds to 30 % or so less than optimal for typical dark rain clouds.
Fortunately, solar panels absorb both direct light and diffuse light; that is—light that is not directly shined from the Sun onto the panels. This light is reflected off of clouds, buildings, and other shiny, light-coloured surfaces. With any sunlight, your solar panels will produce electricity. Conversely, this is why solar panels do not produce at night time.
Where you have rain, you have clouds, and with both comes a decrease in system production as stated above. That being said, rain is surprisingly beneficial to your solar power system as it serves to wash off any dust, pollen and other irritants that may accumulate on the panels.
While hail certainly could damage some types of solar panels, the likelihood is very small and occurrences are extremely rare. Many solar-electric modules and solar hot water collectors are made with tempered glass.
Nevertheless, should extreme hailstones cause any damage to your solar system most of the home insurance companies cover hail damage as the solar system installed on the roof is part of your building. However different insurance companies can have different rules. We suggest you should find out if your solar power system is covered in your particular circumstances.
Nowadays, solar panels are made to withstand harsh weather conditions. The UK weather, although it might seem terrible, is nothing to worry about. Even in cloudy conditions your solar panels will still work and provide you with energy. You can sleep well knowing that even when extreme weather hits the UK your panels will be completely fine.
Advanced technology and extreme durability make solar panels what they are today. Solar panelling is a long term 30+ year investment that will offer you return on investment and a greener promise for the future.