Winter is coming: Why solar is more critical in winter than summer

October 31, 2019

Winter is coming: Why solar is more critical in winter than summer

Cold winter temperatures put a hard strain on the batteries in your equipment such as the tractor, APU, refrigeration unit, and liftgates. In cold temperatures, electronics need more power to perform the same task that drains the battery faster. To make matters worse, batteries don’t provide as much power or charge as efficiently in cold temps. This brutal combination makes battery downtime significantly more likely to fail during the winter months. To offset this issue, solar is a critical addition to an asset to ensure batteries are getting fully charged every day and staying warmer internally. The solar trickle charging allows the batteries to provide more power.

Will solar panels work in winter?

It’s a common myth that solar panels won’t work during winter months. The fact is, modern solar panels are designed to produce power during the cold short winter days. Even in the most frigid weather, solar panels turn sunlight into electricity because the panels create energy from the sun’s light—not the sun’s heat. There are fewer hours of sunshine during the winter, but there are still plenty of hours to tap for a solar charge.  

In addition to its extreme durability, Thermolite® panels will still produce power even when covered in dirt or during cold cloudy weather. In northern territories where snowfall occurs, a frequent concern is how that will affect solar production. Since solar panels are dark, they attract and absorb sunlight and allow snow to rapidly melt off the panels. A smooth hydrophobic surface means that the snow will typically slide off quickly. Even in freezing temperatures, panels will melt off snow and be back to peak performance quickly after a snowfall.

A bonus is that the installation of flexible solar is easy with plug and play connectors and electronics with visual feedback that helps prevent bad installations. Panels are peel and stick, so no holes need to be drilled and the cables run directly to the battery system. 

The weather should not detract from your decision to purchase solar panels but instead, increase the need for it. Enjoy the peace of mind to know your equipment can be fully charged all year round.