Solar panels and seasonality: The data variance between summer, winter
June 21st, 2019 | By Roger Kuznia
June 21st, 2019 | By Roger Kuznia
In sharing our message about the value of solar panels with customers, we do a lot of teaching because of relative lack of knowledge many people have in regard to solar energy. For example, people are surprised in hearing that there is not an average cost of a solar panel installation. There’s good reason for that: Electricity usage can vary greatly by customer, which means people with the same-sized home may need vastly differing number of panels to accomplish their solar energy goals.
Another misperception is that our solar systems will take you off the grid. While we can’t do that, our systems can come exceedingly close to that goal, especially when including our battery solution with your purchase.
While those are two key points that we often relay to potential customers, the following one may be the most important of all. And it is this: The goal of your solar energy system is to offset your energy usage over an entire year, not any given day, week, or month.
We have ample reason to discuss this today, because June 21 marks the summer solstice, the day with the most amount of daylight in the northern hemisphere. In these summer months, solar systems have much more daylight from which to draw energy. For example, in suburban Detroit, home of one of our headquarters offices, residents there are currently enjoying more than 15 hours of daylight. The same can be said of Pittsburgh, another city in our service territory. The extended daylight gives customers additional time to bank credits on their electric bill.
How can you bank credits on your electric bill? In getting your solar energy system set up, your power provider installs a bi-directional meter at your home, allowing for the excess energy produced by your solar system to be sent back to the grid for a credit. When your home needs more energy than your solar panels can produce at any one time (or at night, when your solar panels can’t produce energy), you are able to draw from those credits, saving you money.
In contrast, closer to the shortest day of the year in late December, northern cities such as Detroit and Pittsburgh have about 9 hours of daylight. So between the longest and shortest days of the year, these cities have 6 fewer hours of daylight between the peak of the summer and winter solstices. It’s clear that your opportunity for the most solar production comes in the summer months. But when you average the peak numbers for each time of year, locations will be averaging 12 hours of daylight annually.
And that’s why it’s important for customers to understand that difference. You can’t expect for your summer success to replicate itself in the winter. But when an entire calendar year is factored in, everything averages out.
When Pink Energy builds proposals for its customers, we factor in how much sun those in their localities figure to get based on historical data. Our forecasting is quite accurate, especially when an entire calendar year is factored in. The peaks and the valleys of solar production by season average out. And that’s also the reason why Pink Energy asks for your prior 12 months usage of electricity. We take all those numbers into account to build the proposal that’s right for you.
With costs having fallen more than 70 percent for solar in the past decade, going solar has never been more beneficial than now – especially when you figure in the 30 percent federal tax credit that’s available to homeowners that qualify for it. The solar panels Pink Energy installs come with a 30-year warranty, something we’re incredibly pleased to offer.