snow partly covering solar panels on roof of house

Do solar panels work in the winter?

Jordan Torres

Understanding Winter Solar Panel Performance

When considering installing solar panels, many people wonder if they will still work efficiently during the winter months. Thankfully, solar panels can still generate electricity in the winter, so it’s not all doom and gloom for folk in the UK. In this blog, we’ll explore how solar panels function in cold weather, their performance on cloudy or overcast days and the factors that impact their efficiency.

How Do Solar Panels Function in Cold Weather?

Solar panels rely on sunlight to generate electricity, but they can still produce energy even in cold weather. Funnily enough, solar panels perform more efficiently in cooler temperatures. You might be inclined to think filling the Sahara Desert with solar panels is pretty smart, but they’ll likely overheat. So having solar panels in the UK means they can generate energy all year round.

Can Your Home Run on Solar on Cloudy Days?

Cloudy days are typically associated with less sunlight, which raises questions about the effectiveness of solar panels. While solar panels do produce less electricity during cloudy days compared to sunny ones, they can still generate a significant amount of energy. This is because solar panels can also capture indirect sunlight and convert it into usable electricity. Even on overcast days, solar panels can contribute to your home's energy needs.

How Solar Panels Function in Overcast Weather

Solar panels are designed to capture as much sunlight as possible, including indirect and diffuse sunlight, which is essentially light that’s obstructed by clouds. They can still produce electricity when the sky is overcast, although the output may be lower than on clear days. It's important to note that solar panels will still generate power even on the darkest winter days, allowing you to continue benefiting from solar energy.

Factors Affecting Solar Panel Efficiency in Winter

Several factors can impact the efficiency of solar panels in winter. These include:

1. Sunlight intensity:

The intensity of sunlight during winter is generally lower, which can reduce the overall energy production of solar panels.

2. Roof angle and orientation:

The angle and orientation of your roof affect how much sunlight your solar panels can capture. Proper placement and alignment can optimise their performance, particularly in winter months.

3. Shading:

Shading from trees, buildings, or other objects can significantly reduce the amount of sunlight reaching your solar panels. Addressing shading issues can help maximise their efficiency, especially in winter.

4. Snow cover:

Accumulated snow on solar panels can hinder their ability to capture sunlight. However, in the UK snow usually slides off or melts, within a short space of time.

Tips for Maximising Solar Energy Generation in the Winter

To make the most of your solar panels' performance during the winter months, consider the following tips:

1. Keep panels clean:

Regular professional maintenance to remove any debris from your solar panels to ensure optimal sunlight absorption.

2. Ensure proper orientation:

Make sure your panels face the correct direction to receive the maximum sun exposure during the winter months.

3. Monitor energy usage:

Be mindful of your energy consumption during winter to make the most efficient use of your solar energy.

Benefits of Using Solar Panels During Winter

Lowering Winter Energy Bills with Solar Panels

One of the significant benefits of using solar panels during winter is the potential to lower your energy bills. Solar panels offset your electricity usage, reducing the amount of energy you need to purchase from the grid and having a battery installed allows you to store energy generated in the day, for use in the evening. By generating your own clean energy, you can save money on heating and electricity, even during colder months. You can also opt for our SEG initiative, meaning you can sell your excess energy back to us.

Snow, Ice, and Solar Panels: No problems at all

It's common to wonder how snow and ice affect solar panels' performance. While a snow-covered panel may not produce electricity during that time, it can still generate power when the snow melts away or slides off. Solar panels are designed to withstand snow loads and are installed at angles that facilitate snow shedding. Additionally, snow-covered surroundings can reflect light onto the panels, increasing their overall performance.

Boosting Home Value: Winter Solar Panels as an Investment

Installing solar panels can potentially increase the value of your home. Buyers are increasingly attracted to properties with sustainable features, including solar energy systems. Solar panels provide a long-term investment that not only generates cost savings but also enhances the marketability and resale value of your home.

Environmental Benefits of Winter Solar Energy

Using solar panels during the winter months offers environmental benefits as well. By reducing reliance on fossil fuels, solar energy helps combat climate change by lowering greenhouse gas emissions. By choosing renewable energy, you contribute to a cleaner and greener future.

Winter shouldn't discourage you from exploring the benefits of solar energy. Solar panels continue to be a reliable source of renewable energy even during colder months. Their ability to generate electricity, lower energy bills, and contribute to a greener future makes them a worthwhile investment for anyone. Take advantage of solar energy and enjoy the environmental and financial benefits it offers, regardless of the season.


How effective are solar panels in winter? Solar panels can still produce electricity during winter, although their performance may be slightly reduced due to lower sunlight intensity.

Can solar panels power a house in winter? Yes, solar panels can power a house during winter, helping to offset electricity usage and lower energy bills.

At what temperatures do solar panels stop working? Solar panels can continue to work in extreme temperatures, but extremely cold temperatures may slightly reduce their efficiency.

Do solar panels work on cloudy days in the UK? Yes, solar panels can still generate electricity on cloudy days, although the output may be lower compared to sunny days.

What happens to solar panels when it rains? Solar panels are designed to withstand rain and continue functioning normally. Rain can actually help keep panels clean by washing away dust and debris.

How many solar panels do I need for winter? The number of solar panels needed depends on factors such as energy consumption, available roof space, and sunlight conditions. So Energy can assess your specific requirements and recommend the optimal number of panels for your winter energy needs, you can request a quote here.