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Solar Myths Busted: The UK is not sunny enough for Solar

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During the the longer summer days in the UK we can generate more power from solar panels than an equivalent system located on the equator. Due to the tilt of the Earth we receive sunlight over a longer period over the summer period. The longer days mean that photovoltaic panels will generate more electricity.

By the end of January we would have gained over an extra hour of daylight compared to the start of the month. That’s over one hour longer over the course of just one month.

“In June and July the day length is double that of winter receiving about 16 and a half hours of daylight.”

In hot countries solar PV panels can suffer from overheating and this can reduce the panels’ efficiency by more than half. As it tends to stay cooler for most of the year in the UK and our summers are milder than southern Europe and the middle east we tend not to suffer from loss of efficiency due to the panels getting too hot.

These are the day lengths for the 1st of each month based on London. Day lengths will vary across the UK depending on how far south or how far north you are. The length of a day can vary from 8 to 16 hours depending on the time of year.
 

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
7 Hours 56 minutes
9 Hours 11 minutes
10 Hours 55 minutes
12 Hours 58 minutes
14 Hours 50 minutes
16 Hours 19 minutes
16 Hours 34 minutes
15 Hours 25 minutes
13 Hours 34 minutes
11 Hours 37 minutes
9 Hours 39 minutes
8 Hours 11 minutes

 

Our longer day lengths mean that the our panels generate more power over a longer period. It means that it is easier for households to utilise the electricity their panels are generating.

Our less extreme summer temperatures mean that our panels operate more efficiently in the hotter summer months and are less prone to losses due to panel overheating.

Over the summer daylight accounts for two thirds of a 24 hour period which means most homes’ base loads are met by the energy generated. The longer evenings also means that people who work during the day can take advantage of the free energy as the sun does not set until after 9pm (GMT).

Even in winter on a cloudy day your panels will generally meet the base load requirement for the average household. As solar panels work on light rather than heat your home benefits from free energy generated year round.

Many people presume that you need blazing sunshine in order for solar panels to work, in fact blazing sunshine heats up panels causing them to become less efficient. It is light, rather than heat, that generates the power so your panels will work even on cloudy days.

As a result in a UK Spring we can often get record levels of power generated with solar as the longer daylight hours combined with a still relatively cool atmosphere means that they are operating under optimal conditions.

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Green technologies advocate and energy saving hero. I'm a geek when it comes to new technologies that reduce energy consumption and save money on bills. Many people think of the environment as an external thing that somebody else is responsible for rather than the place you actually live in. The cleaner and healthier our environment is the healthier and happy we are.

5 Comments

  1. acanthus1952@gmail.com'

    I’ve had my panels for 303 days and generated 2,926.44kWh. Worth 585 pounds. So we must be getting enough Sun.

  2. johncrossley65@yahoo.co.uk'
    John Crossley

    Just had my solar panels for three wks checked my usage in the last three weeks and saving just over half on the three wks in may

    • Allan Burns

      Yes, Solar really does work in the UK. We have over 40,000 homes benefiting from lower energy bills due to our free panels.

      If you take a look at our Facebook Page people often post their savings. And if you have any specific questions they can be answered there.

  3. john_stirzaker@sky.com'
    john stirzaker

    since having ashadegreener panels fitted on 30/5/2014, it has clocked up 2080 kw
    h in north west england (Blackpool) so I am very impressed (120 days!)

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