How does a solar station cope with work in winter

Realizing that the increase in energy tariffs has become an integral part of life, a revolution took place in the understanding of users. Solar panels for the home are no longer perceived as a prospect that pops up on the horizon of the distant future. Stations for personal use and sale of surpluses are being set up today. However, seasonal features of equipment operation still remain in the background. In this article we will tell you how solar panels work in winter.

News that confuses us

News of solar energy in the world (photo)

An analysis of information on the development of solar energy in the world suggests that stations are installed exclusively in deserts. In addition to the most famous Topaz Solar Star (579 MW) and Desert Sunlight Solar Farm (~ 550 MW), located in arid California (USA), solar farms are growing in other countries:

  • Mexico (Villanueva Solar Park at 754 MW, Villanueva 1 at 427 MW and Villanueva 3 at 327 MW).
  • China (impressive Great Wall of Solar in the Tengger desert at 1500 MW, about 130 GW in the country).
  • Egypt (Benban complex is under construction with an estimated capacity of 2 GW).

Однако пустыни — не единственные места на планете для преобразования энергии Солнца. Более того, для комплекта солнечных батарей повышенный нагрев поверхности создаёт проблемы, снижая эффективность панелей. Идеальными условиями для генерации оказываются яркий свет и пониженные температуры. Разумеется, при плотной облачности система будет производить меньше энергии, однако правильный расчёт позволят справляться с подобными трудностями. Нормально функционирующая схема практически всегда заряжает аккумулятор в течение дня.

Sun position and panel tilt level

The position of the sun and the level of inclination of the panels (photo)

Compared to the summer months, during the winter months in the temperate zone, the Sun rises lower above the horizon. Due to the angle of inclination of the earth’s axis, the day becomes shorter, and its duration is not enough to provide the station with energy. The natural factor can be partially compensated by orienting the solar panels depending on the position and height of the Sun.

Если этого не делать, придётся мириться с потерей продуктивности. Солнечные батареи на любое количество кВт зимой снижают производительность в 2–8 раз (падение зависит от региона). Понятно, что чем южнее установлены панели, тем выше окажется продуктивность в зимний период.

How will performance change?

How much will the performance of solar panels change in winter (photo)

Для средней полосы расчёты показывают следующее: солнечные панели, направленные на юг и выдающие порядка 300 кВт⋅ч на пике летних месяцев, в середине зимы будут способны генерировать не более 60 кВт⋅ч, то есть в 5 раз меньше. Уровень считался на чистую поверхность, свободную от снега. Для уточнения уровня генерации энергии можно воспользоваться калькулятором. Переходя по стрелке, система помогает просчитать количество вырабатываемой энергии с учётом нагрева панелей, загрязнения, потерь в проводящих кабелях по месяцам. На широте Киева солнечные батареи, вырабатывающие 4 300 кВт⋅ч/год, в январе произведут 134 кВт⋅ч (это годовой минимум), а в июне 586 кВт⋅ч (максимум).

What will happen to hot water

Heating water in winter from solar panels (photo)

Those who decide to buy solar panels are probably wondering if it will be possible to heat water in winter. During the cold period, it is possible to obtain 25% of the energy required for domestic hot water. It is important to understand that losses occur not only due to a decrease in the amount of sunlight, heat escapes through the storage tank and the circuit through which hot water moves. On average, at -30 0 C outside, water can be heated up to +10 + 15 0 C with the help of a solar station, other heating systems raise the temperature higher.

If you plan to use energy for heating water all year round, the storage tank must be installed in the house. In this case, heat loss can be significantly reduced.

How to optimize station performance

How to optimize the operation of a solar station in winter (photo)

In the cold season, the angle of inclination must be increased. The dependence was studied experimentally on control panels installed at a latitude of 53 degrees in the northern hemisphere.

In the warm months, the most optimal angles turned out to be:

Month The most productive angle of inclination
April 45
May 18
June 18
July 18
August 27
September 53

For the cold period:

Month The most productive angle of inclination
October 53
November 90
December 90
January 90
February 53
March 53

In real conditions, you can either set one angle for the entire period, or change the slope twice a year to the autumn and spring equinoxes.

The given data with a small error can be adapted for Kyiv (50°27′). On average, the optimal slope of the panels corresponds to the latitude of the area. This position will ensure efficient generation throughout the year.

When choosing which solar panels to buy , you need to pay attention not only to the generating equipment, but also to the mounting structures. There are systems that can vary the slope within given limits.

How snow affects energy generation

How snow affects energy generation (photo)

Snow adhering to the panel cannot harm the system itself. The snow load is significantly lower than the calculated one, so the station will not suffer from pressure. However, snow cover affects performance. In order for generation to occur, it is necessary to provide access to sunlight.

If the panels are set at an angle, the area is likely to be cleaned by gravity. The process can be accelerated by carefully removing the snow with brushes in such a way that the panel itself is not damaged.

Note! During the winter period, clear weather contributes to energy production, since the solar panels are not affected by high temperatures. Under ideal conditions with complete absence of clouds, more energy is generated in 1 hour in January than in the same time in July. Of course, the total generation in winter will be lower, since the day length will not be enough.

Пока возможностей станций недостаточно, чтобы обеспечить горячее водоснабжение и отопление в полной мере, но вырабатываемое количество в любом случае сократит расходы пользователей и поможет вернуть вложения в течение 7–10 лет. Если использовать панели только для производства электричества, стоимость солнечных батарей окупается за 3–5 лет.