Will my solar panels work at night? What about solar working on cloudy days? How I maximize the efficiency of my solar panels?
These are all great solar questions we commonly get from our customers. If you've been wondering about these things too, you are not alone. There is a short and a longer answer to these questions
Do solar panels work at night?
Solar panels require sunlight to generate electricity for your home, so they do not produce electricity during the dark hours. Thus, the simple answer to the question is no. The concept of solar power working at night centers around backup batteries.
The purpose of a solar panel system is to absorb sunlight and convert the direct current (DC) power to alternating current (AC) power, which is the kind of power your house runs on. If the system is producing more electricity than you need to power your home, the excess is fed back into the electric grid.
What are my options for back-up power?
One of the biggest reasons that home solar panel systems are a good investment is net metering. When your solar panels produce excess power, the power is fed back into the electric grid. The utility company compensates you for producing that energy by adding credits to your utility bill. Then when you need to utilize the grid for power, like at night, when your panels are not producing energy, you are using the credits instead of paying out of pocket for the energy you consume.
Net metering means that your home remains a connection to the grid, which ensures that you still have power regardless of daily or seasonal variations in solar panel production levels.
Some homeowners and business owners may opt for a solar storage solution or back-up battery like the Tesla Powerwall, which can store the excess energy that your system produces instead of sending that power back to the grid. This is a great alternative for those who want to self-generate most of their power and not rely on the utility for power at night or during times of grid loss.
Do solar panels work on cloudy days?
The simple answer is that your solar panels will still work on cloudy days, they just do not perform as well as they would on a clear, sunny day. You may notice some variations or spikes in production on your monitoring, this just means that the clouds have reduced the efficiency.
Solar panels will not operate at maximum production when clouds are blocking the sun, and they will not produce electricity when there is no available sunlight during nighttime hours.