If you’vegrown up in New England states like Massachusetts or Connecticut, thenI’m sure you know about its hot summers and cold winters. It is not dry and arid like the Pacific Southwest, rather New England is prone to wet and cloudy weather for a good portion of the year. It also gets asignificant amount of snowfall annually.
With all of those conditions I mention above, many people questionwhy New England would be the appropriate venue for generating solarphotovoltaic energy. Here are 5 reasons why New England does have theright climate for solar power:
1. Economic viability is a function of theavailable sun power and local incentives.
Some states with a tremendous amount of sunny days do not incentivizetheir citizens financially. Massachusetts and Connecticut are among the 5 or 6 most “solar-friendly” states in terms of economic incentives inthe form of rebates, tax credits and exemptions, Solar Renewable EnergyCredits (SRECs) and net metering policies.
2. Germany has the largest solar capacityinstalled and New England has more sun hours than Germany in an averageday.
Our available sun power here in New England is about 80% of the sunniest parts of the Southwestern US and is much greater than anywhere in Germany. Germany is actually about as sunny as Alaska! Unlikewind, most areas in the United States would be ideal for solar as longas the system has the right orientation and is unshaded.
3. Colder temperatures are actually betterfor solar.
Although it may intuitively seem that the Arizona desert is ideal forPV, the intense heat decreases the efficiency of the modules. Coolertemperatures mean higher efficiency.
4. Photovoltaic systems do produceelectricity on cloudy days.
The electricity production will not be as high as on a sunny day, butyour system will still generate electricity because there will still besome irradiance. Under a light overcast day, panels might produce about half as much as under full sun.
5. Snow typically melts quickly off ofsolar panels.
When it snows, the snow may cover the solar panels and affect theproduction of your system. However, in most cases enough sunlight willstill be able to penetrate through to the modules, warming them andmelting the layer of snow that is on them. Snow typically clears fromyour solar panels much sooner than other parts of the roof.