As solar installers, we often hear the same question, “do solar panels work on cloudy days?” According to a 2019 article by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), solar energy included 9% of U.S. renewable energy consumption. Among renewable energy sources, solar energy had the highest growth rate in 2019. A Washington Post article mentioned that solar energy usage was 23 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2011.
Solar energy’s growth in the past 10-15 years has been unprecedented. Solar has been catching on, so we’re excited to field any questions regarding solar performance – as we hear this question frequently, we thought it would be best to address it in our blog!
So that begs the question, “do solar panels work on cloudy days?” The answer is yes, and here’s how.
Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days? – Clouds Aren’t a Big Problem.
So, do solar panels work on cloudy days? They do, and here’s a relatable example as to why. Have you ever gone to the beach on a cloudy day? Maybe you thought you wouldn’t need sunscreen because the sun wasn’t very bright or directly shining down on you. Well, there’s a good chance you got sunburned, even if there were clouds in the sky; this is because sunlight (UV rays) is powerful enough to penetrate through clouds. UV rays are present, even when the sunshine doesn’t seem that strong.
Additionally, photovoltaic solar panels can absorb direct and indirect sunlight, albeit at reduced efficiency. Solar panels can still catch sunlight that’s filtered through clouds or reflected, but they will only generate a fraction of their potential power output.
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When Night Falls
Not every day is cloudy, but nighttime is inevitable. You don’t need to call an expert to understand that solar panels cannot collect sunlight if there’s no sun overhead. Now, solar panels can generate a negligible amount of electricity from streetlamps and moonlight, but not enough to make a difference.
Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days? –Battery Backup Systems
Part of a well-functioning solar panel array is a dependable battery backup system. Solar panels gather sunlight and produce excess energy during the day, and that energy needs to be stored somewhere so property owners can use it once the sun goes down; this is where the battery backup system comes in. Reputable solar companies in Texas will be able to help you find a battery system that compliments the rest of your solar array system.
Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days? – Texas’ Weather
Luckily, Houston receives an average of 204 sunny days per year, which is right around the national average of 205.
The Space City does get a voluminous 53 inches of rain per year, but this has a surprisingly positive effect on solar panels. Periodic rainfall can clean dust, dirt, and debris off solar panels, allowing them to soak up the sun’s rays more efficiently.
We’re one of the top commercial solar companies in Texas and are happy to answer any questions you still have about solar panel installation.
Call us at (832)280-8838 for your free solar estimate today!