New England gets a bad rap when it comes to weather and is probably more synonymous with the word snowstorm rather than solar power. Contrary to popular belief, the sun’s rays do shine upon this fine part of our nation, and in fact is a prime place for the growth of solar energy.
True, we are prone to wet, cloudy and snowy weather a good portion of the year; but we get plenty of sunshine as well. Many people argue that this area just doesn’t play host well to solar power, but we’ve got some news for those naysayers. Solar is an excellent option for New England and here’s why:
1. State Incentives galore!
Massachusetts and Connecticut are among the 5 or 6 most “solar-friendly” states in terms of economic incentives in the form of rebates, tax credits and exemptions, Solar Renewable Energy Credits (SRECs) and net metering policies. Other states with a higher percentage of sunny days can’t say the same!
2. Germany has the largest solar capacity installed and New England has more sun hours than Germany in an average day, according to Brightstar Solar. Even more, the available sun power in New England is about 80% of the sunniest parts of the Southwestern US and is much greater than anywhere in Germany. Germany is actually about as sunny as Alaska!
3. The colder temperatures are actually better for solar!
Believe it or not intense heat decreases the efficiency of photovoltaic (PV) modules. So cooler temps mean higher efficiency. The same can be said for some LED lights, especially parking lot lights. Go figure!
4. Cloudy days don’t mean powerless days.
The electricity production will not be as high as on a sunny day, but your system will still generate electricity because there will still be some irradiance. Under a light overcast day, panels might produce about half as much as under full sun exposure.
5. Snow typically melts quickly off of solar panels.
When it snows, the snow may cover the solar panels and affect the production of your system. However, in most cases enough sunlight will still be able to penetrate through to the modules, warming them and melting the layer of snow that is on them. Snow typically clears from your solar panels much sooner than other parts of the roof. Thanks to Brightstar Solar for some of these tidbits of information… good to know!