Solar panels are one of the most critical creations in modern energy production and an excellent renewable energy source. However, while they help you be environmentally friendly and save on energy bills in the long run, they require considerable investment for the initial installation. As a result, it is natural for you to have questions and doubts when looking for solar panels in Tampa. One of the most common questions you may have as a home or business owner is whether solar panels work when there is cloud cover.
Do Solar Panels Work in Cloudy Weather?
The simple answer to this question is yes. However, the panels will not always be at their peak efficiency. This is because your solar panel’s efficiency depends on the level of cloud coverage. Clouds block sunlight from the panels and reduce their power production. The panels will still get sunlight as the clouds will block only some of the sun’s rays and not all of them.
What Happens on Overcast Days?
While solar panels may be able to produce energy on cloudy days, they may not always work well on overcast days. You can check if your solar panels are producing energy on overcast days by checking the shadows outside. If you see objects casting shadows, your system is likely producing some power. On the other hand, the absence of shadows indicates a thick cloud cover, blocking sunlight completely from reaching the solar panels. As a result, the panels will not be able to generate any power.
What Happens on Partly Cloudy Days?
Solar panels typically produce 10-25% of their total power capacity on partially cloudy days. However, this percentage may vary based on your system’s efficiency and the amount of cloud cover. Solar energy production may also increase for brief moments on partly cloudy days due to the “edge of cloud” effect. This occurs when cumulus clouds pass by the sun, and their edges amplify the sunlight, sending more powerful rays to the panels.
Backup Solar Power
Cloud cover can significantly impact a solar panel’s power production. However, home and business owners can still rely on solar energy on days with minimal sunlight. Below are different ways in which you can create backup solar power:
Commercial and Home Service Backup Generators
You can use commercial and home service backup generators to create energy when cloud cover impacts your solar panel’s efficiency. Backup generators usually operate on gasoline, propane, or diesel. They work well with solar panels as they provide additional electricity, ensuring your appliances and lights continue to operate even when energy output is affected.
Battery systems can help you store solar energy for days when your solar panel cannot generate sufficient energy. Your solar panel produces more power than your home needs during the daytime. The surplus power generated will be stored in the solar battery when energy output is low.
You don’t have to store solar energy physically with net metering. Instead, it exports the excess power created by your panels to a utility grid. You can get credits for this power accumulated in your account. You can use these credits and connect to your local electricity grid to draw energy from the city’s power.
How to Get the Best of your Solar Panels on Cloudy Days
If you are planning to install new solar panels for your home or business, then a little bit of planning can help you get more out of your panels on cloudy days. Below are ways to get optimum energy generation from your panels:
Avoid Installing the Panels in a Shadow Prone Area
Tell your solar installation team to do a shadow analysis to identify areas in your roof that won’t get shadows. If you have an overhead water tank, trees, or large buildings near your home, they will cast a shadow. Identify a place with the least amount of shadows and install your panels there.
Opt for Monocrystalline Panels
Monocrystalline panels offer slightly better performance than polycrystalline panels in low light conditions. You can choose monocrystalline panels if you live in an area with frequent cloud cover.
Set up an Oversized System
If you want an off-grid solar system for your home or business, consider oversizing the system to store more electricity in your batteries.
While solar panels work on cloudy days, their efficiency depends on which brand of the panel you use. West Bay Energy Solar Installers offer high-quality solar panel installations that are highly efficient and help you save on energy bills.