Winter Chills Green Energy
Renewable energy industry works to deal with seasonal variations
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2008 7:03 AM CST
Wind-power developers say the icy conditions make winter the hardest time of year to maintain wind turbines.   (AP Photo/Heribert Proepper )
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(Newser) – Winter weather is cooling newfound enthusiasm for renewable energy, the New York Times reports. Solar panels get snowed up or suffer from lack of sunlight on short winter days, and biodiesel sometimes congeals in cold weather. Wintry weather is a plus for wind power, but turbines can get iced up and some observers say they hurl chunks of ice as they turn.

Green energy doesn't provide enough of the nation's power for the seasonal variations to be a problem yet, and the nascent renewable energy industry is working on ways to avoid the worst impacts of ice snow. Owners of solar panels say that clearing the snow off has become another winter chore—but one that's sometimes rewarded with lots of power from brilliant winter sunshine.