What happens to solar panels on cloudy or rainy days?
In sunny Southwest Florida, it’s easy to see why going solar is a pretty bright idea. But what about those not-so-sunny days? How do rain and clouds affect your system’s energy production? How does rain affect solar panels? How well do solar panels work on cloudy days?
How it looks on sunny days
Since solar energy output is directly affected by season and weather variations, it’s obvious why this is a common concern. On a typical clear, sunny day, your system’s power graph forms a bell curve, with the highest energy production around noon, when the sunshine is greatest. Your panels operate most efficiently on these days.
How it looks on cloudy days
Don’t worry—your solar panels still work on cloudy days, since sun rays make their way through rain and clouds. However, because the sunlight is limited, so is production. The exact amount of electricity generated will vary depending on the density of the clouds, and may also vary by the type of solar panel.
SunPower panels are among the best solar panels for cloudy days.
Some kinds of panels are better at receiving diffuse light. SunPower solar cells, for example, have been designed to capture a broader range of the solar spectrum. By capturing more red and blue wavelengths, their solar panels can generate more electricity even when it’s overcast. SunPower panels offer unmatched performance, reliability and aesthetics. They deliver the highest efficiency available in a residential solar panel today, with record-breaking technology. That means homeowners get more electricity, more flexibility, more peace of mind, and lower electricity bills.
One cloudy day isn’t as important as the amount of sunshine over a full year…
When you’re looking at how solar power can help you save money on your electric bill, you’ll be considering how much sunshine you get over an entire year, not any particular day. The good news is, there are 265 sunny days per year in Cape Coral, Florida for example. The US average is 205 sunny days. According to Solar Energy Industry Association, the state of Florida ranks 2nd in projected solar growth over the next 5 years.
Will I run out of electricity if I produce less power?
Through net metering, your home remains connected to the electric grid and feeds any surplus electricity to your utility provider. Your utility provider even credit your account for the extra power. When your system doesn’t produce enough electricity to power your consumption needs, your home draws power back from the grid.
As you can see, this agreement with the utility proves to be a great advantage on those cloudy days. Since we live in a particularly sunny area of Florida, the power produced during sunny hours often offsets the energy you use at times when your system is not functioning at full capacity. With efficient, high-quality photovoltaic panels, there’s even less need to worry about your system’s ability to produce enough power for your home.
What about using a backup battery storage?
Solar battery backups are sized to meet your home's specific needs, and are usually paired with a home solar panel system. The battery stores the excess energy produced by your solar panel system for later use. In addition to keeping the lights on during a power outage, a home battery storage option can also help you use stored energy during less productive periods, like rainy days, and even at night.
But not all batteries are the same. Some are more suitable for occasional use during outages but will wear out quickly if they are “cycled” often – this means if they are powered up and then drained. Your cell phone is an example of a battery that is powered up and drained daily. The life of those batteries is measured in years, not decades. Other batteries can be cycled regularly, and last much longer. Ask your Fafco Solar consultant about whether battery storage is right for you, and which brand is best for your needs.
Try out getting a free estimate to see if solar makes sense for your home. If you’re thinking of going solar, do it in 2019 because the 30 percent federal investment tax credit will start decreasing in 2020.