Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?
As a homeowner or business owner planning on investing in solar panels as an alternative source of electricity, you want to know what to expect with your system. No doubt, a solar PV system comes with several benefits. However, since solar panels utilize the sun’s energy, it is wise to know how the system behaves on cloudy days. This leads us to the question, do solar panels work on cloudy days?
The short answer to this is YES. Yes, solar panels work on cloudy days. The reason behind this is that sun rays are powerful to penetrate the clouds to reach solar panels. This is why it is not impossible to get sunburn on a cloudy day.
While solar panels work best in full sun, a cloudy day does not stop you from enjoying your solar PV system. Here are a few points to know about solar panels and cloudy days.
Facts about Solar Panels and Cloudy Days
Solar panels have the highest efficiency in sunny and cool weather. Contrary to the popular belief that extreme high temperatures are the best weather condition for solar energy production, solar panels actually tend to drop in efficiency in temperature above 77 Degrees Fahrenheit (25˚C).
Although solar panels will generally perform best in sunny and cool weather, modern panels are built to work even on cloudy days with just a fair drop in efficiency.
Also Read: How Does Geothermal energy Work?
Why Do Solar Panels Work On Cloudy Days?
The same reason why it is possible to get sunburned in cloudy weather is why solar panels still work to generate electricity on cloudy days.
The major reason behind this is that cloud cover can only block the brightest sun rays. However, a sizeable amount of solar radiation can still penetrate it. A more in-depth explanation of this is that solar panels do not specifically depend on sunlight to function. Instead, they absorb photons from daylight and convert them into electrical charges.
It is worth noting that the energy needed to produce electrical charges is not just from visible light spectrums. A great part of this energy comes from different wavelengths, which are capable of penetrating cloud cover.
Studies even show that solar panels can generate power with artificial light. Admittedly, that is not an efficient way of generating power. Nevertheless, it shows that solar panels do not compulsorily need sunny weather conditions to function.
Interestingly, solar panels only drop 10% to 25% in efficiency when operated on a cloudy day compared to operating on a sunny day.
There you have it! Whatever country you live in, you do not need to be overly concerned about cloudy days. You should always keep in mind that solar panels produce unequal amounts of electricity day on day.
If you do not have access to the grid for a backup, you might want to consider adding more panels to your PV system. Even better, you might want to buy battery storage to store your excess energy for later use or a backup generator. In the end, staying powered up at all times is what matters!