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How do solar panels work on cloudy and rainy days?

Solar Cloudy day

In the last decade, solar panels have gained a lot of attention and popularity. There are still some conceptions about the working of solar systems. Some people believe that solar panels don’t generate electricity on overcast days, which is a wrong assertion. 

Performance of Solar Panels on Cloudy days

Certainly, Solar panels cannot work at full efficiency on cloudy days. Clouds reduce the amount of solar energy solar system produces. Solar panels on a cloudy day can still generate 10–25 percent of their typical production depending on how cloudy the weather is. That’s because, while the cloud will block the brightest solar radiation, a significant amount of solar radiation still penetrates it. That means that the main prerequisite for working solar panels is daylight, not exactly sunlight.

Solar panels can generate power by direct or indirect sunlight, although they are most effective in direct sunlight. It has been shown that panels produce 25 percent of what they generate on a sunny day in partly cloudy day, or 10 percent if it’s very cloudy. 

For Arizona residents, going solar is the best investment because of abundant sunshine. Even if you live in an area that has less sun, installing solar system can be a worthy investment. The US’s top 20 cities for solar include Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco. These cities are known for their rainy winters. If solar worked only in sunny areas, places like Germany would not generate 20-30 percent of all its energy daily from solar energy.  

Effect of rain on solar panels

The rain itself won’t affect your solar energy system. Solar panels are waterproof, so they do not get damaged by moisture.Even on rainy days, solar panels generate electricity due to visible sunlight coming through the rain. Interestingly, the effect of rain on solar panels is positive. Solar panels work more effectively after rain because the water washes away any dirt, dust, or pollen. The MIT scientists discovered that dust can reduce the efficiency of the solar system by 12 – 17 percent.

To summarise: Even though solar panels are dependent on the sun, solar panels can still operate on cloudy days; but less effectively.

At Total Solutions, we are aware of the fact that when the sun doesn’t shine brightly, energy production goes down, so when we give homeowners the cost of installing solar panels, we take into account rainy days based on the region’s historic data.

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