If someone were to ask you which U.S. city—Jacksonville, Fla., or Minneapolis, Minn.—has more sunny days each year with less than 30% cloud cover, which city would you pick? If you picked Minneapolis, you’d be right, as surprising as it may sound.
When it comes to generating solar power in a home, the sun is the critical factor. The more sun, the more power. And interestingly, many so-called “winter” states enjoy about as much annual sunshine as what we think of as “sunny” states. Here are some numbers:
Annual hours of sun
|2,810||Kansas City, Kansas|
|2,535||New York, New York|
These and many other city sun statistics show that most American regions are ideally suited for producing solar energy.
When it’s cold
Here’s another surprise: solar panels work quite efficiently in cold weather, often more efficiently than in warmer climates. The federal Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy says that even in colder regions, “solar photovoltaic (PV) panels actually produce useful power throughout all four seasons.”
When it snows, “light is able to forward scatter through a sparse coating (of snow), reaching the panel to produce electricity.”
And finally, “snow can actually help clean a PV module as it melts away,” because “any dirt on the glass will bond with the snow, washing it away when the sun melts it off.”
If you live in one of the many areas of the country where utility companies offer net metering, you can bank the unused energy your solar system generates by feeding it back to the grid to be dispersed with other households, earning you a credit to be used later when you need to pull energy from the grid. And since there’s a suitable amount of sun in even the coldest cities, you’ll be producing enough energy to power your home all year long.
Download our eBook, "Six Solar Myths", for a review of common misconceptions that could be costing you heavily!