Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Efficiency

don't go down blog

Daylight Savings Time (DST) began in Ireland on 27/3/16, heralding longer evenings and one additonal hour of sunlight per day. Although an hour’s sleep was lost as a result of the clocks going forward, the extra hour of sunlight gained has many benefits in addition to creating “a grand stretch in the evening”. Despite some people classing DST as a pyrirhic victory, we at House2Home consider the potential to harness energy efficiency yielded by DST to be worth sacrificing an hour’s shut eye!

DST was first used in Thunder Bay, Canada in 1908. Germany was the first country to introduce DST when clocks were turned ahead one hour on April 30th 1916. Although the rationale was to minimize the use of artificial lighting in order to save fuel for the war effort, many countries reverted back to standard time after WW1 and it wasn’t until war broke out again in Europe that DST made its return.

A mnemonic device commonly used to remember to wind clocks forward at the beginning and back at the end of DST is ‘Spring forward and Fall Back’, which marries the correct horological action with its seasonal partner. We suggest that, in the spirit of springing forward, you spring into action as far as solar energy is concerned. The benefits you’ll receive will deliver savings all year long. 

Now is the optimum time to make this change, in comparison to the preceding season, since the winter sun is much lower down towards the horizon, resulting in less time and distance for it to travel between horizons. Therefore, the sun rises later and sets earlier in winter compared to summer, meaning there’s less daylight in winter. It is these extra hours of daylight that are significant rather than increased temperature, a fact which bodes well for the Emerald Isle.

In fact, although temperature doesn’t affect the amount of solar energy a solar panel receives, it does influence how much power homeowners get out of them. As solar panels get hotter, they produce less power from the same amount of sunlight. Normally, electrons at rest (low energy) are excited by the sun (high energy), and the difference between their excited and rest energies is the potential difference (voltage) that you could ideally get from your solar panel. However, heat also excites electrons (when we heat something we are giving it energy), which raises the energy of the electrons at rest. (“warmer” electrons have more energy at rest than their “cold” counterparts.)

Ireland, owing to its cool, temperate oceanic climate, is actually slightly better placed to harness the power of solar rays than countries in warmer climes. Since power is produced from the difference in the states (at rest and excited by the sun), if the electrons have more energy at rest (your solar panels are hotter), the difference between the rest energy and excited energy (from the sun) is smaller. Thus solar panels will produce less energy.

If you’ve been swayed by the case put forth above, then consider a solar energy system from House2Home. Our team will determine the package that is right for you based on data such as the number of occupants in your home. Both the environment and your pocket will thank you for semiconducting (a little solar panel humour!) your energy harvesting in a more efficient and sustainable fashion. Our solar panels have been specifically developed for the Irish climate and have a life expectancy of 25 years. Furthermore, our technicians are comprehensively trained to install solar systems neatly and effectively.

House2Home’s Energia Centre is also in a position to offer discounts and grants of up to 24% on solar systems to Energia customers. Learn more about the benefits of solar energy here.