PV solar panels of the United Kingdom

UK householders still have reservations about the effectiveness of PV solar panels (photovoltaic) in the UK climate.

Solar panels effectiveness in the UK.

Solar panels effectiveness in the UK.

The United Kingdom commonly experiences around 48% overcast days per year. So does this mean solar panels are useless in the winter months?

No, says Stuart Lovatt from Heat my Home. A good PV solar system will still contribute on most cloudy days in Britain. This myth is a common misconception, brought about from the clunky early years of solar when technology was young.

I wouldn’t have got on a plane with the Wright brothers, but modern aeroplanes with new technology have become everyday life. The same is now happening with solar panels.

Both types of solar panels (solar heating and PV solar) still harvest sufficient scattered light caused by cloud cover and even contribute to a home’s energy needs.

Production figures vary depending on cloud density, but as an example, electricity production can reach about 20% more generation on a brighter sunny summers day than cloudy overcast days.

This production is still a decent amount of free energy.

The big question during our current cold snap is whether PV solar panels will work in the snow? If you look at any southerly facing roof after a snowfall, the snow very quickly disappears. The energy which went into melting that snow is the same energy which will power your panels.

Self cleaning solar panels

A good quality panel covered with a thin film coating that allows rainwater, dirt and snow flow smoothly off the surface, however, during a prolonged heavy snow period with several layers accumulated, your solar panels will become inactive till until the snow stops falling.

Ultimately, snow in most parts of the UK may be still quite rare and producing energy during the winter months can again be achieved using modern solar technologies.

The position of your solar panels is important. Therefore, the best location of your PV solar panels is as close to south-facing as possible avoiding shading by buildings or trees.

This can be determined by one of our home surveys with a free no-obligation quotation.

"Light is life."

Stuart Lovatt 2010-12-08
Founder of Power My Home.