Expert says solar panels are more efficient in cold weather - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Expert says solar panels are more efficient in cold weather

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WSIL -- Solar panels work with sunlight, not heat, so it doesn't matter how cold it gets this time of year.

During the summer months, Southern Illinois averages around four hours of peak sunlight a day, but during the winter, that number drops to around two hours. 

Aur Beck with Advanced Energy Solutions in Carterville said it doesn't matter, and it almost evens out. 

"In the winter, there is less hours of sun but its balanced by the cool temperatures," he said. 

That's because the colder it is, the more efficiently solar panels run. 

"It is designed to operate at 78 degrees, but anything cooler than that, you'll actually get increased power production," Beck said.

Our records at WSIL show in 2016, there were 215 days where it never got warmer than 78 degrees, meaning panels actually had increased power production for about 2/3 of the year. 

"In one hour, on a cold, sunny day you can get up to 20 percent more power from it," Beck said.

 Beck said in order for the panels to get full voltage, they also need at least 20 percent sunlight. 

In southern Illinois, he said the region has less than one week out of the year where it gets that amount or less. 

Beck said because of that, southern Illinois has great weather for solar technology to thrive. 

And Beck said the weather we're experiencing now will help those panels produce enough energy to balance out the shorter days ahead. 
 

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