Snowed Under: Solar Power Output Collapses Under Blanket of Snow & Ice

Snowed Under: Solar Power Output Collapses Under Blanket of Snow & Ice

January 25, 2023 by stopthesethings 2 Comments

It’s not just sunset that sends solar power output to the floor; dust, ice and snow do an equally good job, demonstrating that solar power is, and will always be, utterly useless as a meaningful power source for businesses and households that require power as and when they need it.

Solar is simply incapable of increasing output to meet rising demand and perfectly capable of collapsing in a heap when demand hits the roof (think breathless 42°C evenings when air conditioners are running flat out and the sun sets; or bitter freezing weather when panels are carpeted in snow and ice, and householders are scrambling to add light, power and heat to their homes).

And even when the going is good, solar panels produce power a tiny fraction of the time, especially in higher latitudes, as John Hinderaker explains below.

Solar Energy is Useless
John Hinderaker
10 January 2023

Or perhaps one should say: utility-scale solar energy is useless. In northern climates, like where I live, solar panels produce electricity around 18% of the time – not a lot of electricity, any electricity. The vast majority of the time, they are inert.

It’s not just that solar panels do nothing during the night, as Duke Energy recently reminded its customers following a series of blackouts. In the North, solar panels also cease to function when it snows. Which it does, a lot. Sometimes on days when you want to turn on your lights, watch television or operate an appliance.

This is typical: a vast sea of solar panels, completely worthless because they are covered with snow:

What is most telling is that no one bothers to shovel off the snow. Do you shovel your driveway? Yes, you need to. But utilities don’t clear snow off solar panels, as one utility executive recently admitted, because they produce so little electricity that paying to shovel them – most likely, paying high school kids – is not cost-effective. That is the ultimate proof of the futility of utility scale solar power.

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