Ever wondered what all the hype is about solar energy? Why people cover their roofs in solar panels? Or whether it would pay off to get solar panels for your home? Most people believe that unless they live in a very warm climate, solar panels won’t do them much good. And they’re right. Simply having solar panels won’t do it in climates that get less sun. However, solar energy is still a good idea and can still pay off–even close to the poles.
WHICH PLACES HAVE THE BEST SUN STRENGTH?
While this is a good question, it’s not the right question. Obviously, the closer to the equator you are, the stronger the sun, and so the more viable solar panels are. However, the right question to ask is which places have the best value for solar energy.
This is slightly harder to answer.
Many territories, states, and countries have incentives for switching to solar energy. Some of these incentives can include tax rebates, grants, and subsidies. For instance, according to nerdwallet.com, the top 5 states in the United States for solar energy are California, Hawaii, Arizona, Maryland, and Delaware. The first three make sense, since they are generally warm, sunny states, but Maryland and Delaware are northern states near the coast. They also get plenty of cloud cover and rain. However, these two states also have some of the best incentive programs for solar energy from their state governments.
HOW CAN COLD PLACES OR PLACES WITH SHORT DAYS MAKE USE OF SOLAR ENERGY?
Solar energy can be beneficial and cost effective almost anywhere. First off, colder weather doesn’t hamper the use of solar panels. In fact, cold temperatures help electricity flow easier. Heat increases resistance in conductors, so the colder it is, the more efficiently solar panels work.
Of course, cold weather brings other problems, like snow build-up. Most panels sit at an angle which allows snow to slide off. Advances are being made so that panels can be cleaned automatically, which would remove snow and other debris that could block sunlight.
Near the poles, the situation gets more tricky. That being said, it is still possible to get decent payoffs with solar kits. The technology for panels and batteries continues to improve, and this allows for energy storage for use at night. There are also options to use the power grid at night. In some cases, motorized panels that track the sun are an effective way to power a home. Near the poles, the long winter nights can make solar energy sound like a bad idea, but the long summer days can help with that. In many cities, energy companies will buy back surplus energy produced by solar panels. In the end it all evens out.
Basically, what we’re trying to say is this: solar energy can work in almost any climate and latitude. No matter how you use it, your energy costs will go down, and your dependence on the grid will be significantly reduced. Who doesn’t want to save money and be self-sufficient?