September 19, 2023

When Clouds Come, Do Solar Panels Still Work?

Clouds may be nothing more than a stray bit of water vapor, but in the wrong place at the wrong time, they can turn a sunny morning into downright gloomy. And when you’re depending on sunlight to power your home, you might worry about your solar panels not being effective. This blog will answer your question.

Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

The simple answer is that solar panels do work on cloudy days – they just do not perform as well as they would on a bright sunny day. Though estimates range, solar panels will generate about 10 – 25% of their normal power output on a cloudy day. It would be accurate to say that solar panels do not work as well in rainy or cloudy weather.

It’s important to mention here that, contrary to what you might expect, cloudy and rainy climates are still often popular places for solar energy installations. The most indicative factor for the popularity of solar panels is the cost of electricity, not the amount of sunlight a city sees. Many of the top cities for solar in the U.S. are not particularly sunny. Rather, they have high electric rates, with the result that homeowners reap major benefits in terms of bill savings and a quick break-even point.

As an example take San Francisco, famous for the fog that hovers over the city for most of the year. And yet, San Francisco is a top-five city for solar as a result of its high cost of energy and a generally warm climate that yields soft but consistent sunlight all year long. This example helps to illustrate why sunlight alone cannot determine how effective solar will be at generating energy savings.

In some cases, clouds can actually result in better solar panel performance than standard sunny weather. A cloud can reflect or sometimes even magnify sunlight, which results in additional power output from your solar panels.

When Will Solar Perform The Best?

Solar panels will not operate at maximum production when clouds are blocking the sun, and they will certainly not produce electricity when there is no available sunlight during the nighttime hours. The key is to plan accordingly when considering a solar installation. Whether it’s net metering, the right solar energy storage option or even pairing an electric car with your system. Almost anyone can find a solar energy system to power their home at the right price in today’s day and age.

The next step is to find out exactly what solar will cost you and see what others are paying in your neighborhood when they go solar. To get a better feel for the real cost of solar, you can contact us - LifeStyle Solar - where you can receive every necessary information. 

To conclude, yes – solar panels can and do work on cloudy days. Therefore, they are a solid investment for any consumer looking to save money on their electricity bills. It has been established that they won’t produce as much electricity in cloudy conditions but that shouldn’t put you off considering them, particularly if you live in California.  

If you are interested in installing solar or simply have anymore questions feel free to contact us for a free consolation on your solar needs and curiosities.

Read our other posts

What You Need to Know Before Adding New Solar Panels to an Existing System

What You Need to Know Before Adding New Solar Panels to an Existing System

Sometimes, you’ll outgrow the original solar system installed on your roof, and you might need to add some more panels to meet your additional electricity needs. Some common reasons to expand your solar panels are getting an electric vehicle, installing a battery, electrifying your home, or making home upgrades like an addition or a new pool.You may not know where to begin if you think you need more solar. Don’t worry - we cover everything you need to know about adding more solar panels to your existing solar system and if it’s always the right choice.

Why You Should Clean Solar Panels and the Best Ways to Keep Them Spotless

Why You Should Clean Solar Panels and the Best Ways to Keep Them Spotless

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your rooftop solar panels is crucial to maximize their energy production and prolong their lifespan. Dirty solar panels can significantly reduce efficiency and potentially damage the panels over time. By understanding why solar panels get dirty, recognizing the consequences of neglecting their cleanliness, and employing the best cleaning practices, you can ensure optimal performance and reap the full benefits of your solar investment.

Solar Panel Repairs and Servicing: Keeping Your System Working and What to Do When it Doesn't

Solar Panel Repairs and Servicing: Keeping Your System Working and What to Do When it Doesn't

If you own or lease a solar system, you no doubt did the math and figured that the energy generated by the solar panel system would reduce your electric bill enough to provide you with a good return on investment. This makes sense. In most states, solar panels can produce an ROI that outpaces long-term returns from other investments such as property or shares. According to Zillow, solar panels can also add about 4% to the value of your home over and above the monthly electric bill savings they generate.However, like any technology, solar panels require regular servicing and occasional repairs to maintain optimal performance. Without that, your solar system may not operate at its full potential, and all that nice math goes out the window. This can leave you in an infuriating position of having to pay both a monthly solar lease or loan payment and also a full electric bill until the system is fixed. When it comes to getting your system fixed, for most people, this will mean a simple call to their solar installer. However, things can be a little more challenging for those whose solar company is either out of business or is not responding to their calls. This is where many solar system owners have been left in the lurch, and their systems are referred to as “solar orphans”.If you have found yourself in that position, the good news is that there are now specialist solar repairs and servicing companies that have explicitly started to service the needs of solar orphans at a relatively low cost. In this article, we will explore the importance of solar panel servicing and repairs, the common issues that can arise, how often you should be servicing your solar system, how to tell if you have a fault, and how much solar repairs and servicing costs.