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Do Solar Panels Still Work On Cloudy Days?

Posted: June 8, 2022
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Category: Solar Panels

Solar panels deliver clean, free energy to your home by converting sunlight into electricity. Naturally, your solar power system will perform best on bright sunny days – but do solar panels work on cloudy days? Will you be able to get the most out of your solar system over the winter months?


Below, we explain what you can expect from your solar panel system on overcast days and cloudy weather. Plus, we've included a few tips to help you maximise solar panel output over the winter months.

 

Do solar panels work on cloudy days?


 

Solar Panels on Cloudy Days


Solar panels still work in cloudy weather, though the energy output may be lower than normal power output on a sunny day.

According to some sources, when there is light to medium cloud cover, solar PV systems can produce around 50% of their solar output on a clear day. Even on the most dark and cloudy days, your system could generate as much as 25% of a sunny day output.

A recent study by Dutch researchers suggests that some types of cloud cover could actually boost solar output. Clouds reflecting light may create good conditions for solar generation, while temporary shading of clouds may be beneficial in reducing the temperature of the panels.

 

Does solar hot water work on rainy days?


 

Solar Hot Water on Rainy Days


Solar hot water systems work by collecting solar energy and using it to heat a tank of water so that you can access hot water whenever you need it. Find out more about how solar hot water works.

Solar hot water systems still work on cloudy days and during rainy weather. Even though cloud cover blocks some sunlight, the majority still gets through which means you'll be able to access hot water even when the sky is grey.

Several days of heavy cloud cover in a row may affect the efficiency of your solar hot water system. That's where a backup electric booster system comes in. If your solar collectors aren't able to generate enough power to heat your water tank, the electric booster system will kick in and heat your water to the right temperature.

If your solar hot water system isn't heating the water properly, it could be because of the weather, but there are several other possibilities why your hot water heater is not working properly. Speaking to a solar hot water expert can help you fix issues quickly so that you can get the most out of your system.

 

Do solar panels work in winter?


 

Solar Panels in Winter


Yes, solar panels work in winter and can bring significant savings on your electric bill throughout the winter months.

While the efficiency of solar cells may be reduced on cloudy days, high quality solar systems will still produce enough electricity to reduce your electricity bill. Electric booster systems will ensure you always have enough electricity to meet your needs, even when the weather is poor.

The cooler weather does not affect solar power output, and may even create better conditions for solar generation if you live in a location which has mild winters and hot summers. In Perth and Mandurah where winters are particularly mild with a high number of sunny days, solar power is worth the investment year round.

 

Will solar panels work in shade?


 

Solar Panel in Shade


In general, solar panels still work in the shade. However, the amount of electricity that is produced by shaded panels will be lower than panels receiving direct sunlight. The efficiency of a shaded panel will depend on how much shade it is receiving throughout the day and how dense that shade is.

During the solar panel installation process, it's crucial that your installer chooses the correct size, efficiency, orientation and design for your solar panel system. They should take note of the different factors around your home that may affect the output and offer solutions to maximise efficiency so you can get the best return on your investment.

If avoiding or removing the source of shade is not possible, choosing the right inverter may help. Micro-inverters and solar optimisers assign each solar panel to its own inverter which means if one panel is shaded it doesn't affect the efficiency of the other panels that are receiving direct sunlight. These types of inverters tend to be more expensive to purchase, but they lead to greater savings on your electricity bill in the long run.

 

Do solar panels work at night?


 

Solar Panels at Night


No, solar panels do not work at night because there is not enough light during nighttime hours to generate electricity. If you want to power your home at night with solar power, you can use a solar battery to store excess power generated during daylight hours.

 

What happens when your solar system doesn't produce enough electricity?


Solar Battery

If your solar panel or solar hot water system is not providing enough solar energy for your needs, a gas or electric booster system will ensure you always have enough power on hand.

If your system is producing more power than you can use during daylight hours, a solar battery is a great way to store that excess power. That way you can still use free, clean solar power at night when there's no sun.

Solar systems will naturally produce less solar energy on overcast days, but if you're experiencing reduced power output even on bright sunny days it's important to get your system checked by a professional.

 

How to get the most out of your solar power system


If you want to maximise solar energy output and save more on your electric bill, here are some tips to get the most out of your solar system:

  • Install an efficient system

  • Go with an experienced installer

  • Choose the right inverter

  • Invest in a solar battery

  • Keep your solar panels clean

  • Trim trees and foliage away from the solar panels

  • Run appliances when the sun is shining

  • Monitor your system's performance


For more tips, check out our guide to getting the max out of solar in Mandurah.

If you need further information or trustworthy solar panel services, give the team at iBreeze a call. We specialise in solar panel installation in Mandurah – and we can help with cleaning and maintenance services to help you get the most out of your system.

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