October 31, 2017
Dark clouds in sky

A common misconception about solar panels is that they will not work on cloudy days. Although solar panel energy output will be less on cloudy days than sunny days, the panels will still provide electricity. As solar panels grow more efficient, it becomes easier to capture the sun’s energy even when it is cloudy outside. On average solar output on cloudy days runs at about 25% of average capacity.

PHOTOVOLTAIC EFFECT

Solar panels still take in light thanks to this effect. Your solar panel works thanks to PV cells placed in the solar panels. The cells receive the photons from any ambient light and then secondary reactions are created that produce electricity.

The PV effect works by using light. It does not need direct sunlight, but it helps. Because of this, your solar panels will always generate electricity.

HOW CLOUDS AFFECT SOLAR PANELS

Depending on the cloud formation, not all light will be blocked from entering the earth’s surface. Although sunlight is important in solar panel output levels, another important factor is radiation. Solar radiation is the main source of energy solar panels use to convert to electricity, and will still cut through cloud layers. Solar cells are made to capture a broad range of the solar spectrum and will continue to convert the sun’s energy into electricity during cloudy days.

WILL OVERCAST DAYS EFFECT SOLAR ROI?

Solar return on investment averages uses weather pattern data to best estimate what your yearly savings on electricity will be. Most regions of Texas get well over 200 days of sunshine per year which is significantly higher than other regions in the United States. Cloud coverage will affect your solar ROI, but initial estimations can be fairly accurate. Higher averages of cloudy weather during a year will lengthen the amount of time in which you will expect to see a return on investment, but it should not be far off from initial estimates.

HOW TO MAXIMIZE SOLAR OUTPUT ON OVERCAST DAYS

Although solar output may seem to be out of your hands once your system is installed, there are ways to maximize your solar panels efficiency during overcast weather.

CLEAN THE SOLAR PANEL HOUSINGS

Solar panel housings are made of a polycarbonate or glass frame that allows light to travel to the solar cells while protecting them from harm. Cleaning the solar panel surface will remove any obstructions including mineral deposits from rain and dirt or dust.

FOCUSING MIRRORS

Focusing mirrors are an effective method used on commercial solar energy plants to focus as much light onto a solar panel increasing efficiency. Focusing mirrors ensure that even on cloudy days, the solar production from a plant will still be high.

COMBATTING LOW ENERGY OUTPUT

A way to combat low energy outputs from overcast weather is to install a battery storage device. The battery device will store excess electricity generated during peak solar hours when production exceeds usage. the battery device will provide your home with power through the night and will store excess electricity to be used during overcast days.

TEMPERATURE EFFECTS ON SOLAR PANELS

Cooler weather can improve the amount of solar power made. When panels heat up too much, they don’t work as well than they do in milder weather. Cool sunny days are the days where solar panels produce the most electricity.

INTERESTED IN MAKING THE SWITCH?

If you are interested in making the switch to solar, CAM Solar is here to help you through every step of the process. Starting with a free on-site solar consultation, we will find out if installing solar is right for you. Contact CAM Solar today to set up your free on-site consultation.

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