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Are Solar Panels Resistant to UK Weather Conditions?

Because extreme weather events happen more often in the UK, solar companies must take specific steps to protect their photovoltaic systems. 

This includes focusing on panel degradation resistance, securing equipment warranties, and obtaining necessary certifications.

Despite solar power’s capability to function in less-than-ideal weather conditions, it’s not immune to the ravages of severe weather. 

If you’re in a UK area prone to harsh weather conditions, you should verify that your solar installations are robust enough to endure such conditions. 

Failing to do so could lead to costly repairs or the need to replace damaged parts.

In this article, we’ll explore the answer to the question, “Are solar panels resistant to harsh weather conditions?

Continue reading to discover how the proper installation techniques can significantly prolong the life of your solar energy system.

To understand how solar panels perform in harsh weather around the UK, let’s first look at how they are made.

What are Solar Panels Made Of?

Solar panels, those black arrays you often see on rooftops, are made of many silicon solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. These cells are linked together to form a panel.

Inside each cell are two silicon layers—one positive and one negative. The negative layer has extra electrons, and the positive layer has spaces called holes. 

When sunlight hits, it frees electrons, creating an electric flow. This flow is what we use as electricity. Built to last, solar panels can handle harsh weather in the UK, like hail and high winds. 

Top-brand solar panels are engineered to perform reliably even in adverse weather conditions, including snow, rain, and strong winds. 

They have protective layers to protect the cells from moisture and sun damage, ensuring they keep working for years. The sturdy frame and tempered glass cover also shield them from physical impacts.

Solar panel manufacturers design their products knowing they’ll face all sorts of weather since these systems must be in full sunlight to work best. 

Therefore, modern panels are dust-proof, water-resistant, and corrosion-resistant, making them durable in harsh environments.

But what happens when the weather turns extreme? 

Are solar panels resistant to harsh weather conditions the UK has to offer?

Let’s examine how solar panels withstand the most common harsh weather scenarios. 

How Does Solar Perform Under Extreme Weather?

Heavy Snow

Snow may briefly stop solar panels from producing energy, but it only affects yearly savings. While solar panels generate less power under snow, they’re not damaged and will work again on sunny days. 

Short winter days matter less for energy production because long summer days generate plenty of surplus power, which can be credited back to you through net metering.

At ECOfootprint Limited, we install solar systems that handle local climates, ensuring they produce enough power throughout the year. The panels’ design helps them shed snow quickly.

Installing solar panels on high-sloped roofs prevents snow from accumulating as it slides off easily. It’s interesting that solar panels work better in colder temperatures and can even use reflected light from snow, which helps save energy. 

Furthermore, when snow melts, it helps to clean the panels, which is especially useful in areas where dust and dirt can gather and reduce efficiency. 

Therefore, it’s generally recommended not to remove snow from panels to avoid injury or damage. Even if there’s a minor loss in production, the panels will make up for it with the high output during the summer.

However, heavy snowfall can challenge solar power performance, with the weight potentially straining the system’s supports and possibly causing damage.

Strong Winds

Solar panels are designed to be very strong and can handle winds as strong as those in hurricanes, which can be between 50 and 150 miles per hour. 

When properly installed on your roof, they should stay secure and undamaged in winds less than 50 mph. 

However, in extreme winds, there’s a chance that flying debris could hit and damage the panels. 

Also, during the windy season, if the solar panels are not installed correctly, the mounting system might get loose, leading to damage. Things like fallen tree branches can also harm the solar panels. 

Solar panels are usually rigid despite these potential issues and have successfully endured several big hurricanes. 

But because strong winds can damage power lines, people using solar panels usually do better than regular power sources. 

Heavy Rains

Since solar panel systems are waterproof, heavy rain won’t harm them. Rain can be beneficial as it cleans the panels, removing dust and dirt, which can improve their performance. 

Even though solar panels are most effective in direct sunlight, they can still generate 10–25% of their maximum output on rainy days, depending on cloud cover and rain intensity.

While lightning could disrupt the local power grid, an adequately grounded solar system will keep running. Surge protectors should be used on sensitive components like solar inverters to prevent lightning damage. Thankfully, most systems today are already equipped with these protections.

As for hail, solar panels are generally designed to resist damage from average-sized hailstones, and they’ll continue to produce power as long as the cloud thickness doesn’t block too much sunlight.

Extreme Heat

Solar panels are often used in sunny places, which can also be hot and at risk for wildfires. While heat waves don’t directly damage solar panels, they can make them less efficient. 

This means the panels won’t produce as much electricity when it’s hot. This happens because of how the materials in the panels work.

There’s something called a temperature coefficient that helps measure this. It uses 77°F (25°C) as a starting point. 

This coefficient shows how much the power from the solar panel goes down for each degree the temperature goes above 77°F (25°C). 

Different types of solar panels have different coefficients, usually between -0.2% and -0.5% for each degree increase in temperature. 

Thin-film panels are better in hot weather than other types, like monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels.

So, when it gets hotter than 95°F, solar panels don’t work as well, and that’s where the temperature coefficient is essential to understand.

Wrapping up

So, are solar panels resistant to harsh weather conditions? Solar panels are more robust than many think and can work well even in bad weather. 

They might get damaged in very severe storms, but this is rare. Even when it’s cloudy, solar panels can still make electricity, just not as much as on sunny days. 

Although solar panels are less effective in bad weather because there’s less sunlight, they will work at total capacity again when it’s sunny. 

It’s essential to buy good quality solar panels and have them installed by a trustworthy company. Many solar panels are made to handle harsh weather, and some are even designed for very extreme climates.

In addition, having solar batteries can help during power outages caused by bad weather. For instance, many solar power systems we install in Doncaster have batteries added for improved energy security.

Choosing the right solar company is key to a durable and efficient solar panel system.

At ECOfootprint Limited, our solar experts will ensure your solar panels are installed professionally. This way, you can use clean and renewable solar energy. Contact us to start using solar energy.

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