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.
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.