Many people think that solar panels require direct sunlight to work. The truth is that solar panels can operate effectively on cloudy or even rainy days. They may work less efficiently during these times, but that usually does not make a huge difference in the long run.
Rainy locations like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco are considered solar panel capitals. This means you can feel confident knowing that your solar panels will function in Central Pennsylvania or New Jersey even on cloudy days.
How Do Clouds Affect Solar Panels?
What happens to your solar panels when it’s cloudy? The clouds will likely block some sunlight, but even the largest clouds cannot block 100% of sunlight from reaching your panels. On a cloudy or rainy day, solar panels can work at up to 25% capacity, so you can still enjoy the benefits of solar energy.
Can Solar Energy Be Collected on Cloudy Days?
Even on a cloudy day, solar panels convert the sun’s rays into direct current (DC) power and then alternating current (AC) power so it can be used. Advanced solar panels may be outfitted with innovative technology to encourage the sun’s rays to bounce off the back of the panels to capture even more energy.
If the weather is stormy or very overcast for days on end, you may need to retrieve energy from the grid or a battery back-up system. Since solar energy can be collected despite cloud cover, many homeowners find that they do not notice a major difference in their utility bill unless the entire month has been unseasonably rainy or cloudy.
Solar Panels and Cooler Temperatures
Solar panels may even perform more efficiently when it’s partly cloudy thanks to slightly cooler temperatures and less direct sunlight. If you’ve ever operated a computer or electronic device outdoors in extremely sunny weather, you know that it can overheat. Electronics function best out of direct sunshine. Your solar panels will last longer and perform at higher efficiency levels if they are installed in a temperate climate with occasional cloudiness.
Do Solar Panels Work in the Shade?
Are shaded areas right for your solar panels? It depends. Solar panels can work under cloud cover because clouds are only water vapor. However, solar panels will not work if they are shaded by other buildings, dense foliage or another obstruction. In contrast to clouds, shade completely blocks the sunlight.
Solar panels are typically installed on rooftops and other unobstructed places to avoid shade. Even so, if a tree limb obstructs 5% of a solar panel, the other 95% will perform as expected.
Are You Considering Solar Panels for Your Home?
If you’re wondering whether solar energy is right for your home, talk to a specialist at KC Green Energy today. Our technicians are experts in solar panel sales and installation, and we can help determine the best solar panel system for your property. Get in touch today by contacting us online or calling 855-465-2473.