During which month does North America receive the most solar energy? If you guessed sometime in summer, you’d be correct. However, the peak production period actually starts much earlier. Spring months starting from April contribute significantly to solar production. We would argue that May is actually the best month for solar production of the year. There are a few factors that lead us to this conclusion, which can be surprising if you’re less acquainted with how solar panels work.
Seasonality can greatly affect how much energy a solar panel generates. Summer has longer daylight, which results in a higher level of energy production. It’s commonly assumed that summer is the best month for solar, and it’s not wrong! However, there are a few drawbacks to the summer months, which make preparing for solar energy production in the Spring the most advantageous for the year.
While it’s true that summer has the best months for solar production, it’s also the heaviest culprit of electricity use. As we mentioned in our previous blog, The Top 5 Biggest Users of Electricity in Your Home, the main cause of bloated utility bills is usually air conditioning or heating.
Obviously, summer is the time of year when the air conditioning is used most. It’s important to make sure you’ve not only reduced your summer costs but that you have stored enough energy to fully benefit through the fall and winter months.
It’s definitely a smart move to store solar energy at this time, but many homeowners make the mistake of installing their panels in the summer. This means they miss out on the energy that can be produced during the Spring, when it’s not quite as hot, and panels are operating at maximum efficiency.
Severe heat can limit solar energy production, as high temperatures can actually reduce the effectiveness of the panels themselves. Extreme heat can reduce the efficiency of solar panels by 10-25%. While the opportunity for solar production is highest in summer, a heatwave can quickly alter the equation. If you’re in an area where these occur, it’s even more important to get an early start on your solar project.
As a result, the reality is that cooler Spring months - like May - may be better for your panels. Solar panels produce better when the temperature is low and the weather is cool. The combination of cooler weather and comparable sunlight makes Spring a great time to get your solar project up and running and ensure that you have a bank of energy to draw from before cranking your air conditioner this summer.
The combination of panel use through Spring and Summer is the most effective way to keep your utility bills down and make sure you have a reliable bank of stored solar energy to draw from for the rest of the year. If you have any questions about how to get the most out of your setup, contact GreenLogic for a free consultation. We’re happy to help.
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