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.