The Impact of Smoke on Solar Production: Shedding Light on the Issue

The impact of wildfire smoke on solar energy in Alberta

As the world grapples with the increasing challenges posed by climate change, the adoption of renewable energy sources has become paramount. Among these sources, solar energy has emerged as a promising and widely embraced solution. However, there are certain external factors that can hinder the optimal performance of solar panels, and one such factor is smoke such recently experienced from the wildfires near Grande Prairie, Edson, Whitecourt, Valleyview, Fort St. John, and other regions across Alberta and B.C. In this blog post, we will explore wildfire smoke with solar in Alberta and how smoke affects solar production and discuss its implications for renewable energy generation.

The Role of Solar Energy in the Transition to Clean Power

Solar energy has gained significant momentum in recent years as a clean, abundant, and sustainable alternative to conventional fossil fuels. Photovoltaic (PV) systems, comprised of solar panels, convert sunlight directly into electricity. They offer numerous benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, lower operational costs, and increased energy independence. As a result, the solar industry has witnessed tremendous growth, with installations soaring worldwide.

The Detrimental Effects of Smoke on Solar Production

Unfortunately, smoke from wildfires, industrial emissions, or other sources can negatively impact the performance of solar panels. Smoke particles can hinder the transmission of sunlight, reducing the amount of energy that reaches the solar cells. These particles can scatter and absorb sunlight, creating a haze that diminishes the panel’s ability to generate electricity efficiently. The wildfires have created smoke cover across north America as referenced in this recent news article.

Smoke’s Impact on Solar Panel Efficiency

When smoke particles block sunlight, they reduce the intensity of the incident light on solar panels. This decrease in light intensity directly affects the power output of the panels. Solar panels are designed to operate optimally under direct sunlight, and any reduction in sunlight due to smoke can lead to a significant drop in energy production. The reduction depends on the density of the smoke and often varies from 30%- 70% production loss on days with smoke.

Additionally, the accumulation of smoke particles on the surface of solar panels can obstruct light absorption. Over time, the layer of smoke residue can reduce the panel’s overall efficiency, as the particles prevent the full amount of sunlight from reaching the photovoltaic cells. Regular cleaning or rain can help mitigate this issue, but prolonged exposure to smoke can still have long-term consequences on solar panel performance.

The Importance of Mitigating the Effects of Smoke

Given the increasing occurrence of wildfires and the persistence of industrial emissions, it is crucial to address the impact of smoke on solar production. By understanding and mitigating these effects, we can ensure the long-term viability and reliability of solar energy systems. This is particularly important for areas prone to wildfires or regions with high levels of industrial pollution. The good news is that sooner or later the rains come and the smoke dissipates, allowing your roof mounted or ground mounted solar to resume energy production at peak efficiency.

Empower Energy: Providing Solutions for Optimal Solar Production

When it comes to maximizing solar production in the face of challenges like smoke, companies like Empower Energy play a pivotal role. Empower Energy is a leading solar energy provider that specializes in designing and installing efficient, reliable, and resilient solar systems. They offer innovative solutions and cutting-edge technologies to optimize solar production, even in adverse environmental conditions.

Empower Energy’s expertise lies not only in the installation of high-quality solar panels but also in providing comprehensive maintenance services. Regular panel cleaning, inspection, and maintenance can help minimize the impact of smoke and other external factors on solar production, ensuring optimal system performance.


The impact of wildfire smoke with solar in Alberta is an important consideration in the context of increasing reliance on renewable energy sources. While smoke particles can hinder the performance of solar panels, awareness and proactive measures can help mitigate these effects. By partnering with reputable solar energy providers like Empower Energy, we can ensure the long-term effectiveness and sustainability of solar power in our journey towards a cleaner and greener future.

To learn more about Empower Energy and their range of solar energy solutions, visit their website: Empower Energy.

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