Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days

Solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to produce electricity, which means that they’ll still work on cloudy days, great news for homeowners in the UK where around 48% of the year is overcast.


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Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

It’s a big question, especially here in the UK: do solar panels work on cloudy days? You’ll still be able to reap the rewards of having a solar photovoltaic (PV) system when it’s overcast, it just won’t be as effective. On a cloudy day, solar panels will typically generate 10-25% of their output on a clear day.

So, we know that a solar PV system will still generate electricity for your home when the sky is full of clouds but how? Well, the short answer is that solar panels only need light, rather than direct sunlight, to generate power.

The ‘Edge of Cloud’ Effect

While a cloudy day might see your solar panels lose some of their effectiveness, a partially cloudy day could actually see you solar PV system get a little boost from time to time. Known as the ‘edge of cloud’ effect, when the sunlight begins to peak out from behind a cloud there is a combination of direct sunlight and reflective sunlight which can see your system temporarily generate more energy.

What About When it Rains?

A bit of rain can actually be really good for your solar panels as it helps to clear them of any dirt that can prevent your system from running as efficiently as possible.

Could Bad Weather Damage Solar Panels?

While the rain helps to clean the solar panels, being on the roof all year round could see the solar system face some adverse conditions. For this reason, solar panels are made to be very strong so that they can withstand justa about anything thrown their way – even hail!

Should your solar panels become damaged, many are covered by extensive warranties that tend to last for 20-25 years.

When are Solar Panels Most Effective?

As the name suggests, solar panels will be generating the most energy during a clear day when the sun is shining. You can help to make your solar panels more effective by:

  • Ensuring that they’re facing in the direction of the sun (a south facing roof will be the best)
  • Keeping them out of shaded areas

Your installer will be able to make a recommendation as to which side of your roof will help you to get the best out of your solar PV system.


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Do Solar Panels Work at Night?

While solar panels might be able to generate sunlight on an overcast day, they won’t be producing electricity at night. However, you can pair up your solar PV system with a solar battery, which stores any excess energy generated during the day, this can then be used at night when the solar panels are inactive. A solar battery will allow you to get more out of your solar PV system and reduce your reliance on the National Grid.

How Do Solar Batteries Work?

More often than not, solar panels are generating more energy than is being used at that point in time. Any excess energy is sent to the National Grid and you miss out on, but a solar battery gives you more power over how you use the energy being generated by the panels.

When you have a solar battery, rather than all of the unused energy being sent to the grid, you can hold onto it and make use of it when the solar panels aren’t producing any power like during the night.

Don’t let Overcast Weather Cloud Your Judgement

As of 2018, Germany is the biggest adopter of solar technology in Europe, despite seeing as little sunshine through the year as Alaska. Goes to show that even if you live somewhere that’s cloudy for large parts of the year, you can still benefit from a solar PV system and see your energy bills drop. So, don’t let overcast weather cloud your judgement when it comes to solar power.

You can start your journey to reduced energy bills by filling in one of our simple online forms to get up to 3 free quotes from trusted solar panel installers in your area.


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