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Do solar panels generate more electricity in hot or cold climate? Who is right (sorry for the messiness, I currently don't know how to take a long screenshot)?

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  • All I see is a pile of missing images. This is a terrible question. Please add a description or transcript.
    – Móż
    Nov 21 '21 at 8:55
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If the amount of radiation stays the same, solar panels produce more energy when they are cooler. Heat causes efficiency to suffer.

However, this is assuming the radiation amount is the same. Usually it isn't. If you consider a place that's very cold, so cold that there's snow, usually there's a reason for that. The reason being that it's winter season and the sun shines for only 5 hours per day if there are no clouds. The sun angle is also very low. The combination of low sun angle and low sunshine amount per day means that in areas that are periodically cold, practically no solar power is generated during the winter season. The summer season on the other hand has very good production figures.

If solar power is heavily seasonal, it's far less useful than it would be if you get about the same energy production every day throughout the year. It means you have to store energy during summer and consume it during winter. The trouble is, no battery or pumped hydro plant has the possibility to store such energy amounts. The only feasible solution is hydrogen but its poor 38% electricity-to-hydrogen-back-to-electricity-again efficiency and the high cost of conversion equipment (electrolysers, combined cycle power plants) and the high expense of storing large amounts of a gas that has low voluminous energy density make using hydrogen for seasonal energy storage very expensive.

Usually in climates that actually get cold in the winter, the preferred power production is wind power. At least you get wind power during all seasons of the year. Solar power is mainly useful in areas where the sunshine amount doesn't vary much between seasons, and so you can charge a battery every day and discharge it every night. That's 365 cycles per year as opposed to 1 cycle per year in seasonal energy storage. Your battery just became 365 times cheaper.

So, although solar panels produce more electricity when they're cold, you really don't want to rely on solar panels in climates where the weather can get cold in the winter.

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  • I didn't understand this part, please explain: "That's 365 cycles per year as opposed to 1 cycle per year in seasonal energy storage. Your battery just became 365 times cheaper." Nov 19 '21 at 23:22
  • If you have summer that's 182.5 days long and you want to store 2 GWh per day during summer, you need 365 GWh battery. If you have daytime that's 12 hours long and you want to store 2 GWh per day (0.0833 GWh per hour), you need 1 GWh battery. A 1 GWh battery is 365 times cheaper than a 365 GWh battery.
    – juhist
    Nov 20 '21 at 9:33
  • Your calculations, if I understand correctly, assume there's zero sun during winter in places like Siberia. It's not the case Nov 20 '21 at 17:23
  • In Siberia, there's only few hours of sun every day in winter. Also the sun angle is low. This has two effects: the sunlight has to travel through a large mass of air, reducing its intensity. Also if you orient the solar panels for good production around the year, the low sun angle in winter means the angle of the solar panels is inoptimal.
    – juhist
    Nov 21 '21 at 14:16
  • Usually it doesn't make sense to mount solar panels on automatically tilting platforms. The reason being that today, the solar panel is cheaper than the platform!
    – juhist
    Nov 21 '21 at 14:17

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