Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

December 17 2020

Home solar panel installation on a dark, cloudy day

The most common question we get from homeowners is, “Do solar panels work on cloudy days?” The short answer is: yes. However, solar panels on cloudy days are less efficient than they would be on sunny days.

Solar panel production is affected by the type of solar panels you choose. Not every solar panel is equal when it comes to quality and efficiency.

Even if you don’t live in a cloudy area, solar panel production is still important. Although the answer to, “Do solar panels work on cloudy days?” is yes, the answer to, “Do solar panels work at night?” is still no. Therefore, investing in efficient panels that will overproduce on sunny days is critical.

If you live in a cloudy climate, Greenlife Solar has you covered. Learn more about the best solar panels for cloudy days here.

Solar Power on Cloudy Days

So, do solar panels work on cloudy days? Yes, they do.

As you might’ve guessed, solar radiation penetrates clouds. That’s why people still get sunburned when it’s cloudy outside.

However, while they still “work”, solar panels on cloudy days can produce anywhere from 10 to 25 percent less energy than on sunny days. The good news is that homeowners typically experience excess solar panel production on sunny days. If you utilize net metering, you’ll be able to use this leftover energy at night and on low production days.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t need to be hot for solar panels to produce energy. Sometimes, people assume that cloudy means cold and sunny means warm, but this isn’t the case. Cold temperatures don’t really affect production. In fact, temperatures over 77 degrees could have a slightly negative effect on solar panel production because of the potential voltage created by the difference between excited electrons and electrons at rest.

Also, it is important to note that while solar power on cloudy days may dip a little, the bigger problem is shading. While cloudy days come and go, a shaded roof lasts forever. A qualified solar installer should be able to install your panels so that shading isn’t an issue. However, if your roof is completely shaded, you may need to consider a ground-mounted solar system.

Best Solar Panels for Cloudy Days

As we mentioned, solar panels on cloudy days produce less than they would on sunny ones. Production levels depend heavily on the efficiency of your panels.

There are four main types of solar panels: polycrystalline solar panels, monocrystalline solar panels, solar shingles, and thin-film solar panels. If your priority is optimizing solar power on cloudy days, monocrystalline solar panels are the best choice.

Monocrystalline panels are more efficient than polycrystalline panels because they are made up of a single, continuous crystal. Of course, solar panel production isn’t the only thing you should consider. Budget is an important factor, and high efficiency comes with a higher price tag. On top of that, system aesthetics may play a role in your decision.

Not sure which panel type is best for your home? Check out our guide to finding the right solar panels here.

Solar panels producing solar power on cloudy days

Find a Solar Installation for Your Roof

If all of this information sounds overwhelming, breathe. The good news is that you no longer have to wonder, “Do solar panels work on cloudy days?” The answer is yes. Your solar panels will generate electricity from any sunlight that hits them.

As for choosing panel type and setup, solar installation professionals will be able to help you make these important decisions. A great solar installer can recommend the best solar panels for cloudy days and create a system that is ideal for your unique home and climate.

Greenlife Solar can help you find a trustworthy solar installation company in your area for a great price. Compare free quotes on a variety of pre-screened installers near you today.

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