There’s no doubt that solar production in Minnesota is different than in Arizona, or California, because of our long winters. Solar arrays in the American Southwest don’t get snow. Because snow disrupts the sun’s rays hitting the photovoltaic cells, there will be less electrical production when your panels are covered in snow.
However, you’ll see some of the highest energy production on your solar system, on a cold clear winter day. When the panels are clear and the weather is cold and the ground is covered in snow, electrical production on your panels will soar. Electronics, including solar panels, work more efficient in colder temperatures because colder materials enable the flow of electricity with less resistance. Alternatively, solar panels installed in warm climates can experience more resistance to the flow of electricity.
Minnesota snow can also be a benefit. The white snow on the ground will reflect more sunlight into the panels, further increasing production, especially for ground mounts. While Minnesota winter conditions may seem harsh, they do a pretty good job cleaning our panels too.
Solar production is further exemplified in Germany, located at roughly 52 degrees latitude, which has more installed solar capacity than any country in the world. Half of the energy in Germany comes from residential solar photovoltaics. Germany has over 35 GW of installed solar capacity – over a third of the world’s solar. With an average latitude of 46 degrees in Minnesota, more sun, and more sunny days, imagine how much solar we could produce if we followed in Germany’s footsteps.