Over the last decade, solar panels have become an increasingly popular option for those looking to reduce their energy bills and contribute to the fight against climate change.
However, the question often arises: do solar panels work on cloudy days or even at night?
In this article, we will explore this issue and provide key information on the use of solar panels in various weather conditions.
To be able to answer the main question of the article, we will first explain what solar panels are and how they work.
Additionally, we will tell you how Babio can help you make the most of solar energy at any time of day or year.
Let’s get started!
What are solar panels?
Solar panels are made up of solar cells, which capture sunlight and convert it into electrical energy.
This process is known as photovoltaic (PV) energy, which is light converted into electricity.
The solar cells within the panels are connected in series and parallel to increase the amount of energy that can be generated.
The amount of energy that can be produced depends on several factors, including the size and efficiency of the panels, geographic location, and climate.
While a single solar panel can generate enough electricity to power a small appliance, powering a home or building requires an array of multiple solar panels connected together.
How do solar panels work?
Now, let’s dive a little deeper into how our solar panels work.
After collecting sunlight and converting it into direct current (DC), this energy is sent through the inverter of our system to convert it into alternating current (AC), which is used by most homes in Los Angeles, California, and the US in general.
Additionally, any excess energy produced by the solar system can be stored in batteries or sent back to the electric grid.
Do solar panels work when it’s cloudy?
Yes, solar panels can work on cloudy days, but not as efficiently as on sunny days.
It is estimated that on cloudy days, solar panels produce between 10-25% of their normal output power, depending on the thickness of the cloud cover.
However, while they perform better on sunny days than on cloudy days, solar panels don’t work better in particularly hot climates. In fact, solar panel output begins to decrease if the panel surface temperature exceeds 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius).
Interestingly, solar systems are popular in many places known for their cloudiness, such as the US city with the most cloudy days, Seattle. Similarly, the second most cloudy city, Portland (Oregon), is among the top solar cities in the US. Both cities benefit from long summer days with mild temperatures, ideal conditions for maximum solar production, which help balance out lower production in cloudy winter months.
In summary, on cloudy days, solar panels work but not as efficiently as on sunny days. Solar panel performance also decreases when it’s too hot.
For this reason, solar panels can work and be highly cost-effective in a variety of different climates, including places like Los Angeles, California.
Installing solar panels in Los Angeles is an excellent option due to the large number of sun hours the city receives throughout the year and the high electricity costs in the region.
Furthermore, California has set important goals to promote renewable energy and implemented different incentive programs to encourage the adoption of solar technologies, making installing solar panels in Los Angeles even more attractive.
Do solar panels work at night?
Solar panels do not work at night.
As mentioned earlier, these devices require light, preferably sunlight, to generate energy.
Although they can generate some energy from other sources of light, such as streetlights and even the moon, the output is very low.
Because of this, solar panels go into standby mode at night, meaning they become inactive and stop producing electricity.
However, this does not mean that you cannot use solar energy at night.
This is where net metering comes in.
What is net metering?
Net metering is a system in which the energy produced by solar panels during the day is sent to the conventional power grid and credited to the homeowner.
This energy is then used to power the home at night when the solar panels are not generating electricity.
The net metering process varies depending on the state and energy provider, but generally works as follows: any excess energy produced but not consumed is sent back to the grid, and the homeowner receives a credit for that energy.
This credit can be used to pay for energy use at night or on days when the solar panels are not producing enough electricity.
In Los Angeles, specifically for LADWP customers, excess energy sent to the power grid is paid at market price.
This means that homeowners can use the credits they receive to reduce their energy bills, making net metering a cost-effective option for homeowners in Los Angeles and other places where this system is offered.
At Babio, we can help you choose the best net metering plan for your home, allowing you to maximize your solar system and save money on your energy bill.
We understand that our customers may have questions about how solar panels work on cloudy days or at night.
But don’t worry, our panels are designed to keep working even in low light conditions.
Our high-quality and high-efficiency panels can continue to generate energy in low light conditions to ensure that our customers always have access to clean and affordable solar energy.
At Babio, we help you design and build the solar system that best suits your needs, always with a commitment to providing quality service at a more than competitive price.
Start saving on your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint today. The future is here, and it’s solar!