Do PV solar panels work in cloudy weather?

The solar revolution has made solar energy an increasingly powerful force in the energy arena. Solar panels help us harvest this energy and convert it into usable, renewable energy that meets the everyday needs of our modern life. Solar panels convert this solar radiation into useful electrical energy, which is then stored in batteries for use or fed back into the electricity grid. Enough solar radiation strikes the earth every day to meet the earth's energy needs for an entire year.

Do solar panels work in cloudy weather?

While solar panels aren’t as efficient in cloudy conditions as during bright, sunny days, they still do their job, just at a reduced rate. Depending on your specific panels and the amount of cloud cover, solar panels can still produce 10-25% of their rated capacity.

Do solar panels work in colder climates?

Many people have wrongly assumed that solar panels don't work in cold or cloudy places, but even the world’s lowest ranking places for sunny days have excelled. Germany, who ranks low in sunny days, is globally recognized as the solar energy capital of the world with solar accounting for an estimated 6.2 to 6.9 percent of the country's net-electricity generation in 2014.

There is a common misconception that solar panels are less efficient in cold weather. However, solar panels have proven to be more efficient in the lower temperatures found in autumn or spring, as when solar panels are colder, they are able to better conduct electricity. The reason summer is the best overall season is due to the consistently higher amount of sunshine and fewer cloudy days in the months of December, January and February, as well as the longer day light hours that we enjoy over the summer months.

Long-term outlook

When looking to solar power to help you be more energy efficient and to help you save money on your electricity bill, you should consider the amount of sunshine you get over an entire year, and not on any particular day.

Some days will be sunnier than others, but when feeding solar power back into the electricity grid, your electric company will look at what you’ve produced over a full year as they calculate how much to pay you.

Even if you aren’t generating enough energy to feed back into the grid, you should be able to reduce your electricity bill by harnessing solar energy with solar panels on your home or business and using this power instead.

Estimate your annual savings on your electricity bill after you have installed a solar power system with this solar savings calculator.

Find out how to go solar with Momentum Energy.