With cooler temps on the horizon, one common myth about solar energy is you need warmer climates for optimal solar energy. Not with SunPower.
As the summer comes to a close, residents are preparing for cooler temps. What does this mean for solar customers? There is a common misconception amongst those considering solar that the outside temperature will determine how much solar energy your panels will receive. Does the cooler air affect how much energy your solar panels make?
Overall, temperature does not affect the amount of energy a solar panel receives. The amount of energy depends on one simple variable: how much light is received from the sun. The air temperature has little to do with energy creation at the source. Perhaps this misconception comes from what we remember from earth science class: the position of the earth in relation to the sun, and the sun undergoing seasonal variations due to the tilt of the earth as it rotates around it.
The myth exists for conventional panels.
The illumination of a solar panel in a fixed position does indeed vary a bit seasonally due to the position of the sun during different seasons, and power generated is affected. Less daylight hours and more cloudy days in the fall and winter months can have a negative effect on overall solar panel production when compared to the summer, however, cooler temperatures actually allow solar panels to operate more efficiently when they are receiving light rays, thus these seasons are still great for producing solar power!
Where temperature really comes into play when discussing solar is when looking at the components that make up different solar panels. Any piece of hardware, including a solar panel, has a range of temperatures in which it runs with optimal efficiency, and too warm or too cold can affect performance. In this case, conventional solar panels can be seriously hindered by temperature changes, but not all solar panels are created equally.
The SunPower difference.
SunPower’s solar arrays are engineered differently, and the magic lies in the solar cells themselves. Conventional solar cells are fragile and susceptible to corrosion as the seasons change. SunPower’s Maxeon cells are backed with solid copper, which is sturdy and resists corrosion from the elements where conventional solar cell designs cannot. The metallic connectors between the cells on SunPower arrays are much thicker, and therefore more resilient to daily wear and tear from thermal expansion as the temperature changes. Corrosion or failure of cell interconnectors are responsible for the majority of conventional cells that stop working. SunPower’s Maxeon cells on the other hand are guaranteed to be in service much longer than the competition, and working more efficiently all the while. In fact, SunPower guarantees their panels will still be producing 92% of year one projected power after 25 years, whereas conventional panels can only promise about 80.7%! And this assumes conventional panels outlive their 10 year product warranty.. SunPower’s 25 year warranty on all of its parts is inclusive of power, product and labor over this time frame.