Is Britain Sunny Enough for Solar Panels?

solar panel maintenance
solar radiation
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British Weather Won’t Power Solar Panels!

There are many myths and misconceptions about owning solar panels and the rate in which solar radiation is generated in the United Kingdom. As the United Kingdom is generally known for it’s rainy and windy weather, a large percentage of the population are under the impression that Britain is not sunny enough for Solar Panels. Considering many Brits complain about the low levels of sun we see on the British Isles in comparison to our neighbouring European countries, like France and Germany, it is no surprise that many people are under the impression that Solar Panel efficiency is at an all-time low. However, despite the wind and the rain, the United Kingdom is actually a great location for efficiently working solar panels.

The UK and Sunlight

It may come as a surprise to you to know that the United Kingdom actually gets similar amounts of solar radiation as some of our European neighbours. This means even though we may not be getting the same amount of heat in the United Kingdom, we are still getting the same amount of sun exposure.  In fact, some Southern parts of the United Kingdom get the same amount of solar radiation and sunlight exposure as Germany, which is one the leading countries for the use and production of solar panels!  

solar radiation

The top countries for photovoltaic power production are China, Japan, and Germany. For each of these countries, the development and use of renewable energy is considered a high priority. In China, they are aiming for 70% of their energy to be generated by Solar Panels by 2050. In Germany, they are producing enough renewable energy in six months to power the country’s households for an entire year. By 2022, Germany is aiming to phase out its nuclear power plants through the expansion of wind and solar power installations under Germany’s long-term drive towards a low-carbon economy, as well as the exploitation of storms.

Considering we have very similar Solar Radiation to Germany, this means we too could become more produce enough renewable energy to power our country too.

But What About Britain’s Cloudy and Windy Weather?

Whilst Solar Panels are obviously more efficient if they are in direct sunlight consistently, the sun doesn’t have to be strong or hard hitting for solar panels to work. They can still produce a significant amount of solar energy when it’s cloudy and grey. Wind can also be beneficial to the efficiency of solar panels. Whilst many people considering installing solar panels may regard wind as a potential threat to the efficiency and maintenance of their solar panels, it has been found that the wind can actually serve as a cooling mechanism for the panels, this can lead to increased efficiency.

What About Snow?

It’s no secret that winters have become more extreme over the past years. Each winter the heavy amount of snowfall seems to reach record rates in certain parts of the country. This heavy snowfall will definitely affect the efficiency of Solar Panels, right?

Well, when your solar panels were installed, the engineer will have placed them at an angle which will optimize and maximize their performance efficiency.  This means that, in theory, the snow should melt off the solar panels as whilst the panels are working, they will have built up some heat.  In the event of extremely heavy snow, it might be wise to phone in for a maintenance appointment to have the snow removed from your Solar Panels. Roof work is dangerous, especially in snow, so it is always best to call in professionals if you need any work undertaken on your solar panels. Sometimes the snow can help boost your solar panels performance. The snows surface can reflect the sun’s photons from the ground on particularly clear days.

The United Kingdom, without a doubt, gets enough sunshine for Solar Panels to be efficient and effective. Whilst there are many rumours that say the UK isn’t hot enough or isn’t sunny enough, these claims have been proven to be false. Solar Panels rely on sunlight, not heat, to be powered, therefore it doesn’t matter that we don’t have summer weather like France and Spain, we can still rely on solar energy as a reliable renewable energy source.

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