In 2020, eleven percent of the renewable energy consumption in the United States was solar. Meanwhile, the country increased its use of solar energy by 22 percent in just one year.
As state and federal governments offer new incentives and rebates to those who install solar panels, it’s no surprise that more commercial and residential buildings are switching to solar energy. But, some people still have some concerns about a power source that depends on the sun, especially those who live in cold or gloomy climates.
So, do solar panels work on cloudy days? We’ll answer this question by briefly reviewing how solar panels work, so keep reading to find out!
How Do Solar Panels Work?
You likely know that solar panels transform sun rays into electricity, but do you know the science behind it?
Solar panels consist of solar cells made of crystalline silicon or gallium arsenide. These cells include other components, such as boron and phosphorus, to create two parts: one loaded with negative electrons and another with positive electrons.
Once exposed to the sun, the photons move the electrons from the part of the cell where the negative charge is greater to the part where it is lacking, creating an electrical current. The more electrons released by the photons, the more electricity the cell generates.
The unused electrons return to the negative panel, where it’ll use them to generate more energy. So, solar cells produce a continuous current and store it in batteries, where voltage inverters can convert it into an alternate current that your home can use.
Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?
While solar panels work best in direct sunlight, they also function in areas that receive indirect sunlight. On cloudy days, solar panels still absorb sunlight and generate power, just not as efficiently (about 10-25% of the normal production).
Still, cloudy days with rain can benefit your solar production because they wash away dirt and dust that gathers on your solar panels, which can prevent them from absorbing sunlight.
But now you may be wondering, “do solar panels work at night?” Of course, the answer to this question is no since the solar cells are not receiving any sunlight.
Thankfully, you can store the energy your panels produce during sunny days so that you can use it on cloudy days or at night. One way is by using a solar battery. However, you need several to store a lot of energy, and they take up space.
Thus, many companies allow you to participate in a net metering program, meaning that you transfer excess energy to the power grid. And, if you need more electricity on cloudy days, you can cash in your credits to receive power at no additional cost.
Of course, you’ll need to research solar panel options in your area to learn if this type of program is available.
Save Money and the Planet by Installing Solar Panels!
So, do solar panels work on cloudy days? The answer is yes!
And, with the help of solar energy companies, you can borrow energy if the weather is especially cloudy for a long period. So, you’ll never have to worry about not having enough electricity to power your home.
Of course, for more advice on how to use solar panels, contact a local energy company! And, if you want to learn more about the latest technology for your home, browse more interesting posts on our blog!