Solar PV Installers in Manchester |
How Systems Work in Cloudy and Wintry Weather

Are you drawn to the many benefits associated with solar PV panels? If you’re considering an installation at your property in Manchester or any other surrounding location, you likely have multiple questions that only an experienced professional can answer to your satisfaction. As time-served solar PV installers, one of the most popular questions we receive from prospective customers is “do panels work when it’s cloudy or in the winter months?”, or a variation thereof.

Upgrading to solar PV panels is a sizeable investment with many potential benefits, so you rightly want complete confidence before committing to your project. Considering the Lancashire weather, it’s also only natural to double check if solar PV systems need unbroken sunshine to operate.

In this blog, we look at how solar panels perform in cloudy and wintry weather.

Do Solar Panels Work When the Weather isn’t Warm and Sunny?

The typical UK winter lasts for around 3 months. However, it can often feel like four or even five. Not only is this a significant amount of time, but it’s also the period of the year when your household or business relies on energy consumption the most.

You can rest assured, it’s only a myth that the cells within solar panels are ineffective during the winter. Solar power is very much a resilient, dependable source of renewable energy year-round.

How Do Solar Panels Function?
To understand how solar panels perform in cloudy, rainy and wintry weather, you must first learn how their cells operate.

The panels our solar PV installers supply and fit consist of photovoltaic (PV) cells manufactured from silicon. When light particles (photons) come into contact with the electrons within these cells, they become energised. This energy then transforms into an electric current.

You then use the resultant electricity to light and power your Manchester or Lancashire-area home or workplace.

Do Solar Panels Operate in Cold Temperatures?
Because solar PV panels rely on the sun’s light as opposed to its heat, it doesn’t need to be warm or hot for them to work effectively. In fact, like most electric equipment, these panels function most efficiently in lower temperatures. Put simply, a bright, chilly day generates more energy than a hot and sunny one.

This is due to the difference in energy between the electrons in the solar cell and the photons from the sunshine. The greater this differential between the particles, the higher the amount of power the panels can generate.

In colder climates, the difference is higher. As such, when the light strikes the cells, they generate more electricity.

Do Solar Panels Work When it’s Cloudy?
Be it in Manchester or anywhere else in the UK, the only thing predictable about our weather is its unpredictability. While the lower temperatures may benefit the systems our solar PV installers create, factors like cloud and the onset of winter bring about less sunlight.

It’s hardly surprising that the UK receives only 30% of the maximum amount of sunshine in an average year.

When it comes to solar energy output, the amount generated in cloudy conditions depends on the density of the clouds themselves. However, even on days with moderate cloud cover, solar panels still generate a significant quantity of electricity.

This is because the cells in solar panels make use of both direct and diffuse light. The former is solar energy that travels undisturbed from the sun directly to the ground – or your roof.

The latter is light that atmospheric particles scatter before it reaches the earth. One such example in this regard is rain clouds.

Don’t Forget Battery Storage…
It’s important to note that the systems our solar PV installers design for properties in or around Manchester include a solar battery. This innovative feature allows you to make the most of the energy your panels generate in the summer months, or any period of winter sunshine.

Once stored in the battery, you can make use of this electricity as and when you need it. This is especially handy during winter, when daylight hours are at their shortest and energy consumption is at its highest.

Call 07581 739569 to speak with our solar PV installers about your needs and wants in Manchester or any other North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire or Lancashire location.