Contrary to popular belief, solar panels do produce electricity even on cloudy days. Many factors determine how efficient your solar panels are when the sun is obstructed. These factors include your solar panel specifications, the presence of fog or rain, and your installation. Below are listed how solar panels work on cloudy days.
But it is important to remember that electricity prices play a prominent role in whether solar panels make economic sense in your area.
Do Solar Panels Work Only in Sunlight?
Solar panels are an expensive investment. So it’s completely normal to wonder if your solar panels will generate power only on sunny days. To know whether solar panels work on cloudy days or not, you must understand how these devices work.
Installing a solar panel system for your home is a good investment. After all, it can help you save money on your electricity bills. But although there are many sunny states in the US, the weather is not sunny all the time. And during the winter months, cloudy days happen frequently.
When the sky grows dark, the efficiency of your solar panels can be affected. While they can still work, they will generate less power depending on their quality.
How Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days
To answer do solar panels work on cloudy days, you need to understand how solar panels generate electricity. Solar panel systems convert sunlight to direct current. And an inverter will turn that into electricity that you can use in your home.
If the weather is very sunny, your solar panels can produce more electricity than cloudy.
For Example, On Solar Panels That Work On Cloudy Days
In locations like Boston, Seattle, and New York, most people may think they do not need to invest in solar panels because the weather is typically cloudy. And those cities are prone to fog, blizzards, and rain. However, these cities still rank high in solar panel installations.
For example, New York receives less sun. But because the cost of electricity in the area is very high, residents can save money using solar panels.
For locations like Seattle, where the electricity cost is low and there is not much sun, the cost to benefit ratio may be lower.
Remember the Cost of Electricity
Considering this, one can conclude that just because an area has sunnier days does not save more.
In the same way, just because the weather is mostly cloudy in an area does not mean it’s not a good location for solar panels. The cost of electricity is the biggest factor contributing to determining whether solar panels will save you money.
Shade Isn’t as Bad as You May Think.
Contrary to what many solar customers think, hot weather is not a necessity to produce electricity. When it comes to partial shading due to natural or other sources, this can decrease the power generated by your panels. However, don’t worry because modern panels are designed to still function despite these challenges.
For instance, if 50 percent of solar panels on your flat roof are shaded by trees, not all of its production will be diminished. This makes choosing qualified installers extremely important. Picking the right installer will ensure that your system is designed to deal with issues like this.
The Relationship Between Your Solar Power and Bad Weather
The weather plays a big role in how much energy will be produced by your solar panels. The number of sunlight hours in your location is not the only thing you need to factor in, but also the rain, fog, and mist.
Depending on how heavy the fog is in your area, your solar panels can work better than direct sunlight.
For example, if the fog starts rolling in from mid-morning until late afternoon, the solar energy system in your home can collect energy from the sun at a higher rate. This is because solar panels are more efficient when the temperature is cooler.
Cloudy weather is often accompanied by rain. If the weather is bad, the solar panels in your home may not generate as much power as when the weather is sunny.
But rain isn’t all bad for your solar panels. It performs the valuable function of cleaning your solar panels by washing away dirt or dust that accumulates on your panels. This improves the efficiency of your solar panels.
Unsurprisingly, clouds reduce the sunlight that reaches your solar panels. That being said, do not expect the same efficiency on sunny and cloudy days.
However, it’s important to note that high-quality solar panels work to collect ambient light better. But they can still function well even in shaded or cloudy conditions. Make sure to ask your installer about this for more details on your specific area.
What to Do When Your Location Is Always Cloudy
Anyone who has gone to the beach on a cloudy day and still got a sunburn knows how solar radiation can still penetrate thick and dark clouds.
With that in mind, your panels can still produce a good amount of energy even when it’s not sunny. However, it will depend on the cloud cover. Compared to sunny days, the energy output can also drop by as much as 25 percent.
If you have many cloudy days in your area, investing in solar panels with high efficiency is worth it. These devices have a design that allows them to trap a broader range of light from the sun, making them a great choice not only on cloudy days but also when your solar installation area has shade at certain times of the day.
Your Solar Panels and the Electricity Grid
Even after you install solar power, your house would still be part of the electric grid. The only thing that will change is your appliances will first use the electricity from your solar panels if it is available rather than from the grid.
Considering this, you don’t have to stress completely not having power when it’s cloudy or bad weather. However, you may see a difference in your electric bill in more cloudy months.
One of the benefits of still connecting to the grid is when it’s sunny, solar cells can produce more renewable energy than you need, and the excess power will be fed back to the grid.
Depending on the net metering programs in your state, you can use this credit to offset your consumption in months where your solar PV system doesn’t generate enough power.
Unfortunately, net metering is not available in all parts of the country. This means spending more on a solar battery is better for having power on cloudy days or nighttime. Thankfully, there is a wide selection of solar battery products you can get at a reasonable price.
Will A Solar Battery Help?
During times of the year when it’s always cloudy, a lot of homes find it more useful to use solar energy storage like solar batteries to accompany their solar power system. This will allow you to store all your unused solar-generated electricity for a later time. This allows you to power your home even when the weather is cloudy or during the night.
It is also worth noting that before net metering started, all solar panel systems were off-grid. All solar panel owners needed to generate all their power independently and store the excess power through batteries. So it is possible and not as difficult as you may think.
So When Will Your Solar Panels Perform Best?
Now, we’ve established that your solar panels won’t perform at their best when the weather is always cloudy. However, it can still produce enough electricity to help you save money.
When it comes to solar energy, factoring in your annual sunlight hours is more vital to get the peak power of your solar panels. Knowing this key information can help you determine the correct solar installation for your property.
Aside from the annual sunlight hours, your geographic location and the seasons will also play a role in the hours you are bound to get. On an overcast day, your solar energy systems will produce less energy. But in most areas, the solar cells may overproduce energy during the summer months. Although your bill may be higher during the winter months, it can be at least partially offset by the summer months.
Is It Still Worth It? Do Solar Panels Work On Cloudy Days?
Most parts of the US, like Hawaii and Phoenix, are very sunny. And these places have the potential to produce much more solar energy than their population can use.
A solar system, especially a small one, may not make financial sense for every country. But it is still possible to greatly benefit from it if you plan your system well. You also need to account for your solar panel specifications. To do this, you need to research how much power your solar panels can produce.
If you want to get a solar energy system for your home, remember that the overall picture is vital to examine instead of focusing more on a few hours of cloudy weather.
In the long term, your solar panels are a worthwhile investment. They can help increase your home value and give you clean electricity for two decades or more.
Key Takeaways, Do Solar Panels Work On Cloudy Days?
Having a solar panel system is one of the biggest investments you can make for your home, and it’s also a smart move to make for the environment. Now you know that solar panels produce some electricity even on a cloudy day. So it is time to discover the right solar panel system for your home.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?