Pumpkin-lovers, rejoice! It is officially Fall. As always, Earth has kicked it off with the Autumnal Equinox, which took place yesterday evening at 6:54pm PST.
For one minute, the sun’s rays passed directly over the equator, meaning day and night lasted for exactly 12 hours each. The days will now begin to get cooler, shorter, and darker.
But what does this mean for solar power? Doesn’t less sunlight mean less solar production? Fear not! Solar technology and policy ensure that your solar system won’t miss a beat this fall and winter.
Credit: National Weather Service
Darkness Is Not What You Think It Is
While solar panels are most effective in direct sunlight, a little gloom won’t keep you in the dark. Solar panels gain energy from solar irradiance, which is present even when the sun is not.
Plus, cooler weather is actually ideal for the health of solar panels. Extreme heat can decrease the efficiency (sometimes by up to 25%). And as rain increases, your panels become self-cleaning.
Net Metering Will Be Your Best Friend
Luckily, the state of Washington and many others have strong Net Metering policies.
During the long summer days when sunlight is high and usage is low, your system will produce an excess of power. This excess goes back into the utility grid and you receive a 1:1 credit for every excess watt you produce. You can then redeem those credits in the dark winter months when sunlight is low and usage is high. This is an effort that has made solar possible for thousands of homes in Washington.
So Don’t Worry About Fall, Relax!
Put on a sweater, curl up with some hot cocoa, and take comfort in knowing that your solar system will continue keeping your home bright even during the dark days.