Over the past decade, more people in Connecticut have turned to solar panels. However, the question amongst many homeowners is whether solar panels are efficient in cloudy weather. The weather in Connecticut is continental, meaning it has cold, snowy winters and hot summers with regular thunderstorms. A solar panel would work great, but it would be best if you consulted a reputable solar company in Connecticut before installing one.
Let’s look at how solar panels work in cloudy weather.
When Do Solar Panels Work Best?
Cool and sunny days are the best for solar panels as they can get a lot of sunshine minus humidity or too much heat. The panels’ output drops in temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit). Cloud coverage only reduces the amount of energy the panels produce. However, they still produce energy as they absorb energy from solar light, not heat. Your solar panel collects energy particles in sunlight called photons, converting them to electricity. When the photons hit the solar panel cells, known as photovoltaic cells, they create an electric current.
Depending on the cloud coverage, you can expect between ten and twenty-five percent of the usual output. Solar panels use either direct or indirect sunlight to produce power, and the panels can still produce energy during total or partial cloud coverage. You will be surprised to know that rain improves your panels’ efficiency. By washing away dirt and debris that blocks light absorption, your panels can absorb more light and improve their output.
Solar panels generate more energy during clear and sunny days. To make the panels more effective even on cloudy days, you can:
- Ensure they face in the sun’s direction by possibly installing them on a southern-facing roof
- Keeping the panels off a shaded environment that obstructs light
- Store surplus energy
Power Storage During Cloudy Days
During clear and sunny days, your panels may generate excess power when they work at optimum levels. You can use this surplus power to provide your home with electricity during very overcast days and at night. On a very cloudy day, you can confirm if your system is generating electricity by checking if there are shadows outside. If an object can cast a shadow, there is enough light to generate power. An absence of shadows means the cloud coverage is excessive, and sunlight cannot penetrate.
You have two options for using the surplus energy produced during clear days:
- Solar Battery
A solar battery added to your installation can collect any excess power. The solar battery provides a great solution, especially for overcast winter months. It may be an added expense, but it comes in handy during those times the panels cannot produce a lot of electricity.
- Net Metering
A net metering program allows you to send excess power to the electric grid. This surplus power earns you credits from the utility company. You can cash in these credits to offset the amount the utility company bills you when you use their grid power during overly cloudy days, and your panels are not working at their optimum.
Do Solar Panels Work During Rain and Snow?
Solar panels work during rainy weather. How much electricity they produce depends on how cloudy it is. Heavy cloud cover hinders the production of electricity. As mentioned, the rain cleans the panels and relieves you of the task of cleaning them. Snow may be an issue only when it accumulates on the panels, blocking light. Solar panels can produce electricity even during below-freezing weather as long as there is light hitting the panels. Depending on the panels’ tilt, the snow eventually melts off the panels, and if the snow is light, the wind will take care of it. Unfortunately, if snow blocks off all light, the panels cannot produce electricity, and you have to find a way to get the snow off the panels.
How to Determine the Best Solar Panels to Use
There are numerous brands of solar panels in the market. This number may overwhelm you, especially if you are new to this. Consulting a professional allows you to rely on their expertise in the issue. Although the internet may have all sorts of information, you may get confused further than if you had someone to talk to and ask all the pertinent questions. All solar panels are not created equal, thus needing expert advice.
Solar panels still work even during cloudy weather, contrary to common belief. All the panels need to operate is light, not heat. Although they won’t run at maximum capacity, they will still generate some energy.
You can store any excess energy produced in a solar battery or join a net metering program that converts your extra energy into credits. Most important of all, consult experts before you install solar panels. It will save you a lot of time, energy, and resources.