Monday, 4 February 2013

January is the cruellest month...

I'm VERY glad to see the back of January. 

I don't know how the weather was in your neck of the woods, but those of us in the East Midlands had more than our fair share of ice, snow, darkness and misery.

Whilst it snowed last year around the same time, I can't remember it staying for as long or reducing my output to the same degree. 

Because our PV panels had 5 cm of snow laying on them, we had 5/6 days during January with NIL output. 

We had clear sunny days with freezing temperatures, plenty of light, loads of sunshine, but if the panels are covered up you get no output whatsoever. 

I assumed that the panels generated a certain amount of heat as part of their operation, a little like your TV gets from the components inside. I also foolishly assumed that because of that residual heat there would be an element of self "de-icing" involved. 

Well, if they do it wasn't apparent on our roof. Even when 50% of the panels surfaces clear of snow  the system was stubbornly not prepared to push power into the grid.

I'm not sure if it's just me. Or if it's all of us, but my 12 month output for 2012-2013 is looking very much below that of the previous year. 

January 2013 was 53% below the level of output in 2012. Almost every month as the graph below shows has been worse than the previous year.

What was very interesting was the difference in the time taken for the snow to melt on MY roof and my newly installed neighbours system.
We live in semi detached houses with the same roof angle, compass orientation and insulation, yet my roof cleared 48 hours before my neighbour.

I'd be interested in anyone else has come across this weird phenomena where you live. We theoretically receive exactly the same amount of light so I can only assume that either my panels are slipperier than theirs, or there must be a difference in the level of shade which isn't apparent at other times of the year. 
Obviously, I'm delighted that my German system must have been designed with snow in mind...vorsprung durch technik

Twitter: (@solaricarus)

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