Which is better for your wind turbine? Summer or Winter?
The Earth, as I’m sure you know, is on a tilt. As a result, throughout the year, parts of the Earth are closer to the sun than others resulting in a difference in weather patterns depending on where in the world you are. This is where the seasons come from! In the Northern Hemisphere the months of December, January and February, also known as winter, are characterised by cold, rainy weather. While the months of June, July and August, known as summer, mostly experience hotter, dryer weather.
So how does changing weather affect your home’s renewable energy generation? Which is better, summer or winter? Let’s find out!
Generally home renewable energy setups consist of either photovoltaics or wind turbines. Photovoltaics obviously produce more power with higher exposure to sunlight. The stronger photons of sunlight, the more power you get!
As a result, with the sunnier, less overcast summer months, photovoltaics will generate more over the summer months!
But what about wind turbines? It’s less cut and dry than photovoltaics with a lot more complex factors affecting wind frequency and strength. With so many factors such as changing air density over the year or proximity to the sea or mountains, the system is characterised as a ‘chaotic’ system. So, the best way to determine the answer is to tackle the problem experimentally!
Luckily this research has already been conducted by the Luléa University of Technology looking into the changes in power production of a turbine over the different seasons. The result, this interesting graph:
(Gantasala, Sudhakar & Luneno, Jean-Claude & Aidanpää, Jan-Olov. (2016). Influence of Icing on the Modal Behavior of Wind Turbine Blades. Energies. 9. 862. 10.3390/en9110862.)
As you can see, the wind speeds are generally higher in winter months than summer months but can be a lot more variable. This study was investigating the effect of icicle formation in colder regions so the power production is not necessarily higher at higher wind speeds in this study.
The two main things to take away from this when considering your domestic wind turbines are: The wind speeds are higher in winter resulting in more power production from your turbine than in summer. These wind speeds are more variable so there is also a higher potential of causing wind turbine damage and it should be watched more carefully over these months!
We hope this information has given a bit more of an insight into how the time of year can affect your power generation!