Solar power is more popular in the United States than ever before, in part, because solar prices have dropped by nearly 70% since 2014. However, when we talk to homeowners interested in installing solar panels on their homes, almost all of them have the same question: Do solar panels work on cloudy days?
The short answer is yes! Continue reading to learn more about how solar panels work, how efficient they are on cloudy days, and more.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
First things first, it helps to have a basic understanding of how solar panels function. In the simplest terms, a solar panel is made from several small solar cells. These cells absorb light from the sun and convert it into direct current (DC) power. That power goes through an inverter in the system and gets converted to alternating current (AC) power. That’s what powers your home.
Essentially, the more light that hits your panels, the more electricity they produce. If the system produces more energy than you need, it goes back into either battery storage or the electric grid.
Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?
Now, having a basic understanding of how solar panels work, what happens on cloudy days? Even on very cloudy days, some light from the sun still reaches your solar panels. So, even with a lot of cloud cover, your solar panels will still produce energy. However, the output of energy will be lower than on most clear days.
As a good rule of thumb, you can expect your solar panel efficiency to decrease by 10% to 25% on cloudy days, depending on the quality of your solar panels. If you install high-efficiency panels on your home, they’ll produce more energy on cloudy days than conventional panels.
Similarly, some solar cells can capture a bigger range of UV light than others, which can help produce more energy on cloudy days. When you meet with the Southern Home Services team for your solar panel consultation, we can go into more detail about the different types of panels that make the most sense for your home and the amount of energy output you need.
What Happens at Night?
While solar panels can still produce energy on cloudy days, it’s important to note that they won’t produce any at night. However, there’s no need to worry about output. As we mentioned above, excess energy produced can go into the battery storage within your system. At night, when you need to use energy, the system will use that surplus energy so you can continue to live comfortably. Including a battery in your system also has the advantage of protecting you from blackouts by using the power from your battery when the grid goes down.
If your system doesn’t have built-in battery storage, then all your excess energy will go back into the power grid, in a process called net metering. When you produce excess energy in this case, you’ll get credits back on your energy bill to offset the cost of the energy you need to use at night. You will never be without power, unless the electric grid goes down.
Explore the Benefits of Solar for Your Home
Now that you can confidently answer the question, “Do solar panels work on cloudy days?” you can think about adding a system to your home so you can take advantage of green energy. To learn more about how much you can expect to save on energy costs and to talk about your own solar project, contact our team today!