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HomeTipsDo Solar Panels Work In Cloudy Or Rainy Weather?

Do Solar Panels Work In Cloudy Or Rainy Weather?

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The sun produces enough solar radiation to satisfy all our solar power needs. And, the clearer the sky, the more efficiently our panels can absorb more of this renewable energy. It explains why installations of solar panels for Florida homes and other sunny cities are on the rise while places with less sunlight, like Canada, typically report lower solar dependency. In this case, the government has to intervene by investing in community solar projects.

So, do solar panels work in cloudy weather? Are they reliable in this case, and will I benefit from them in a rainy climate? Find answers in this article. Let’s jump in!

Does solar power work on cloudy days?

Solar panels are made from photovoltaic (PV) cells, which produce power when they absorb light particles (photons) from the sun.

Since the panels depend on light to function, the only time they will not generate electricity is at night (although solar batteries can quickly solve this problem). In cloudy weather, light from the sun isn’t blocked out entirely, as some can still penetrate through the heavy cloud cover to generate electricity. However, solar panel efficiency on cloudy days is lower than its efficiency on sunny days.

The panels typically generate 30–50% of their optimal electricity levels on such days. This means that if a 2 kWh system generates 8 kW of electricity on an average sunny day, that amount will reduce to about 2.5–4 kW on a cloudy day.

Do solar panels work in the rain?”

Unlike cloudy days, the way rain affects solar panels is somewhat different. This is because, in heavy rain, it is not just the clouds blocking light from reaching the photovoltaic cells but also the rain droplets. This significantly reduces the panel’s efficiency, causing them to generate only about 10–20% of their typical output on an average sunny day. So, for a 2 kWh system that produces 8 kW of electricity on average, heavy rain will cause it to generate just about 0.8–1.6 kWh.

How do solar panels work in each of the seasons?

Since solar panel output depends on the amount of light that reaches the PV cells, the climate variation in seasons is sure to affect their efficiency. They generate only 35% of their annual output in winter and fall, while the remaining 65% is produced in summer and spring.

1. Summer

Summer solar panels

It’s easy to assume that solar power generation in the summer will be off the charts because of the intense sunlight and longer days in that season. However, this is not always the case. Like every other electronic device, these panels are less efficient at higher temperatures. At temperatures above 77°F, every solar panel reduces in efficiency by the rate of its temperature coefficient.

This means power generation would be less on long summer days with extreme heat than on a cool day with enough light.

2.  Autumn

You may wonder, do solar panels work in the falling leaves and frost of Autumn? These elements can obstruct panels and keep them from absorbing enough light to generate electricity, especially if not wiped or brushed off.  However, the amount generated is still enough to power an average home significantly.

3. Winter

Factors like shortened days and snowfall affect energy production during the winter. These devices can generate solar power on a cloudy day in winter, as long as the snow buildup is not too much. They are typically built at an angle to maximize the light that hits them, and the angle also causes the snow to slide off easily. However, heavy snow buildup can lead to a reduction in power production.

The short winter days also mean that the amount of light available to produce energy is reduced, decreasing the total power generated by the panel. However, although these devices operate at a lower efficiency, the energy generated is still significant.

4. Spring

Just like the summer, springtime comes with long days and much sunshine. The panels typically overproduce energy in these two seasons, which one can store in a battery or sell the excess. Rain showers in the spring don’t do much to deter power generation during the season.

Are solar panels good in cloudy or rainy climates?

Solar panels will function relatively well in any climate, as long as there is daylight. Areas with rainy and cloudy climates will have less efficiency than brighter areas, but that does not hinder the panels from producing enough electricity to power a home effectively.

Final words

In summary, the elements cannot deter this green energy source. For those who’ve been asking, “Do solar panels work on rainy days?” The answer is evident in this article. They do, and although efficiency is reduced in cloudy and rainy climates, solar power is still a more sustainable and climate-friendly energy source. For any inquiries about installation and costs, PPM Solar can’t wait to get your call!

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