Do solar panels work when it is cloudy?

by ClickGreen staff. Published Mon 05 Nov 2012 13:49, Last updated: 2012-11-05
Will solar panels still generate in cloudy conditions?
Will solar panels still generate in cloudy conditions?

Of all the questions people ask concerning solar panels, this has to be one of the most popular. It’s easy enough to see solar panels will work when the sun is streaming down onto them, but will they still work on an overcast day?

The good news is yes, they will still be capable of producing solar panel electricity for your home on such a day – and that’s good news for anyone living in the UK, with our somewhat changeable weather! This is because they work with sunlight rather than just sunshine. Since it is still light on cloudy days, the panels will still work.

The key difference is in the amount of electricity they can produce in this situation. When the sun is unimpeded by cloud cover, the panels will work at their optimum and produce as much electricity as they are able to. However, when the cloud bubbles up, a lesser amount of sunlight will get through to reach the panels on your roof.

It is much the same as holding up a sheet of gauze between the panels and the sun. The gauze will prevent a certain amount of sunlight getting through, but it won’t prevent all of it. If you were to hold two sheets of gauze between the panels and the sun, less sunlight would get through, but again, some of it would.

This is why a generally cloudy day will result in the panels producing less electricity than they would on a long hot summer’s day. However they will produce more on this type of day than they would on a really gloomy and dark winter day, where it barely seems to get light at all.

So this is actually good news if you are considering getting solar panels installed at your home. It means you will have solar power electricity all year round to some degree, even though more electricity will be produced at some times rather than others. It means you will enjoy more free power than you may have thought originally. Obviously the better the weather is the more free power you will get.

Of course it is worth reducing the energy you use in your home anyway, so you can make the free electricity go as far as it possibly can. This is the best way to make the most of your solar panels all year round.

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Comments about Do solar panels work when it is cloudy?

Good news that solar panels work when it is cloudy. Depends on what for. BTW, what is the unit cost of a standard solar pane
Lucy, Pretoria around 2 years, 9 months ago

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