13 Oct Do Solar Panels Work in Snow? A Quick Lesson in Net Metering
Here in Western New York, we are all very fortunate to experience all four seasons—including a long cold winter. So what happens to solar panels when it snows? The good news is that sunny days are not needed year-round for solar panels to produce enough electricity for your household or business. Here’s how it works.
1. Your solar panels produce excess energy.
Most of your solar energy is produced during the warm and sunny spring, summer and fall weather. During those five to six months, you produce more energy than you could possibly need. But where does the extra electricity you produce go? That’s where solar net metering comes in.
2. Your solar net meter measures that excess energy as cumulative credits.
Houses without solar energy have a standard single-direction electricity meter, which only measures how much energy you use. But houses with solar panels use a bi-directional solar net meter, which measures how much you use AND how much excess energy you produce.
3. Your solar credits come back when the sun doesn’t come out.
So net metering keeps track of the cumulative credits you’ve earned for all the energy you’ve provided to your neighbors. And much like rollover minutes on a cell phone plan, these credits come back to you whenever the sunshine is unpredictable during those winter months—and on other dark and rainy days throughout the year.
FUN FACT: Did you know your solar panels work most efficiently on the coldest, sunniest winter days of winter without snow cover? Now that’s cool.