Solar panels allow you to make use of the sun’s clean, renewable energy, lowering your utility bills while also reducing your carbon footprint. But, do solar panels work on overcast days or during seasons when the sun isn’t shining as brightly? This is an important subject to address for homeowners who live outside of the Sun Belt before installing solar panels.
We’ll go over how solar panels function on cloudy days, whether they work at night, and how to make sure you always have power—even if your panels aren’t producing solar energy.
So, how do solar panels work when it’s cloudy?
Domestic Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels may generate electricity from both direct and indirect sunlight. This means they work even if the cloud is unavailable. Solar panels are most efficient and productive when they have direct sunlight.
Solar panels will continue to perform even if the light is reflected or partially obscured by clouds, but their energy production will be reduced. On days when there is a lot of cloud cover, solar panels will generate 10 to 25% of their regular power production.
Do Solar Panels Work at Night?
On overcast days, solar panels can still be used. However, they can not be used at night. The explanation for this is easy: solar panels work because of the photovoltaic effect, in which sunlight activates solar cells, resulting in the generation of electrical current.
The PV effect can’t be initiated, and no power is made without light. During the evenings or when it’s cloudy outside, if street lighting is turned off, your solar panels will still be producing energy.
Solar Storage On Cloudy Days And Nighttime
During sunlight hours, your panels can generate more energy than you use. On overcast days or at night, this surplus power might be used to generate more electricity. But how do you reserved this energy?
There are a few options to think about: A solar battery can be used to store excess energy. Adding a solar battery to your home means that any additional electricity can be stored and used during hours when the sun isn’t shining or at night. Even though solar batteries allow you to run your solar PV system all day, there are several disadvantages that come with them:
- It’s another thing you’ll have to set up.
- It raises the cost of your system.
- Batteries will take up some room.
If you desire electricity for more than a few hours, you’ll probably need additional batteries. For example, if your system is beyond 13 kilowatts, Tesla solar installations require two Powerwall batteries.
A net metering program is an option. Net metering programs help you to send excess power generated by your system into the municipal electric grid in exchange for utility credits.
Those credits can be used to offset any electrical bills you may incur on overcast days or at night when solar energy alone is insufficient to power your home. Net metering can be a cost-effective solution. It is a great alternative, in the long run, as it can lower your electricity bills. That being said, they have a few disadvantages to consider, such as:
- You might not break even.
- In some circumstances, you may still owe money to your utility provider.
- Net metering programs are not available in every location or by every utility company.
What Are The Other Benefits Of Solar Panels?
- Reduced reliance on foreign oil and fossil fuels because solar electricity is pollution-free and emits no greenhouse gases after installation.
- The ROI is good on them.
- Very little maintenance and can last for over 30 years.
- Creates plenty of jobs, which benefits the economy.
- If the grid is interconnected, excess power can be sold back to the power company.
- Ability to live off the grid if all the power generated is sufficient for the home or structure.
- It may be placed almost anywhere, from a field to a structure.
- Use solar batteries to store extra energy.
- Solar energy may be used to heat water, power homes and buildings, and even drive EVs.
- An electric current that is safer than standard electric current
- Because efficiency improves with time, the same sized solar panel offered today will be more efficient tomorrow.
- To assist with the initial costs, federal grants, tax incentives, and rebate programs are available.
Are Solar Panels For You?
Solar panels are a great alternative to using fossil fuels and can help you save money in the long run. If this appeals to you, then they may be for you. Installing solar panels has many benefits, such as working in cloudy conditions. So, if you live in an area that doesn’t have the sun splitting the stones every day, there are no worries as all solar panels will work when it is cloudy, rainy, and all other weather conditions.