Once you convert to solar power, the savings are immediate. To get maximum ROI, you need to draw as much power from sunlight as possible. If your commercial property does not get full sun all year, solar power is still your best bet. Here are some facts about how inclement weather affects your output.
It is true that clouds can reduce your power production. In rainy or foggy weather, output from solar panels is lower than clear, sunny days. But the bright side is taking in free energy the rest of the year offsets those darker days. Besides, rainy days are not total losses. The magnified light coming through the edges of clouds produces energy, sometimes enough to offset the clouds. In addition, the occasional rainstorm washes dirt from the covers over your solar cells, helping them to work more efficiently.
Snow accumulation is inevitable in some regions and can block light from your panels. Your design team will place them in the optimal spot and can angle the framework to slope. You can also clear off the panels, however most customers simply wait for the snow to slide off.
Choose the right panels for your climate. If you live in a cloudy region, it may be better to pick panels made from amorphous silicon solar cells. They are overall slightly less efficient, but perform better in lower light than mono- and polycrystalline silicon cells.
In some cases, net metering can help offset the decrease in energy output on inclement days. Some states, Maryland is one of them, allows you to direct the extra energy you generated during sunny hours back to the grid to be used on cloudy days or at night.
Earlier models of solar power panels used to have a design setback where shade on one panel would negatively affect the whole system. Now the panels have bypass diodes and Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) capability, so every panel getting sun exposure can work to its full capacity.
Don’t let qualms about the weather keep you from making the best possible investment in your building. In many cases, solar power is still an attractive solution, even in climates that do not get sun 365 days a year. Depending on the incentives that your state offers, you may very well still come out ahead with a solar photovoltaic system; a cloudy climate shouldn’t deter you.