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Do Solar Panels Work When It’s Cloudy or Raining?

Solar panels during a cloudy day

denboma from Adobe Stock

Several households and enterprises turn to insolation for lighting and operating electrical gadgets on their premises. 

The photovoltaic cells help you save money. You may be asking yourself: do solar panels work on a cloudy day?  Is their output adequate in meeting all your power needs, with a lot of cloud cover? 

The great news is that solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to work.

PPM Solar installs residential solar power in Florida to ensure your energy needs are catered for at a friendly price. They install solar panels that work on cloudy days when radiation is minimal to keep your home illuminated. Get in touch today to speak with one of their experts.

What Happens to Solar Panels When it’s Cloudy or Raining?

Photovoltaic cells work on cloudy days to transform sun power into electricity on dull and sunny days. Power is generated as long as the sun’s rays hit the PV setup. But how well do solar panels work in cloudy conditions? 

The thickness of the atmospheric precipitation influences the quantity of current output from solar cells on a foggy day. 

The thicker the mist, the less direct heat that reaches your PV cells, and this will translate into lower power output.

On a particularly foggy day, your PV cells cannot produce any power at all, which is the reason why it’s crucial to have an inverter system alongside your PV structure to use any residual energy generated by insolation during hot weather for use in overcast seasons. 

Although the adoption of solar systems is on the rise, not everyone is buying the idea of going that route. Mainly because of the obvious question: how do solar panels generate electricity?

 Solar panels on a rainy day

How Do Solar Panels Generate Electricity?

Photovoltaic cells consist of many layers of semiconductor materials, like silicon. 

When these semiconductors absorb sunlight, they acquire a charge, creating an electrical field. Subatomic particles move out of atoms and flow randomly, causing current to flow.  

The insolation panel consists of many solar cells mounted at a fixed angle facing the sun. They have a tracking device that follows the sun, allowing them to capture maximum heat energy throughout the day. 

The energy produced by one or more cells is measured in kilowatts peak (kWp) and represents power at standard conditions for testing. 

The overall performance and productivity depend on many parameters, including land topography, degree of slanting, shading, and temperature.

How Do You Make the Most of Your Solar Panels on a Cloudy Day?

Because the level of sunshine varies from time to time insolation panels productivity also differs accordingly. 

As a result, people with PV structures should consider cloud cover and daylight hours before installing them to get adequate exposure.

There are several ways to maximize solar panel efficiency on a cloudy day.

  • Use high-efficiency PV cells designed to use smaller sun rays to generate the same energy as conventional cells.
  • Install electrochemical cells for storing extra current for use when it’s cloudy. Batteries can be charged whenever there is radiation and then discharged when none.
  • Upgrade your inverter so that it converts surplus energy on hot days for use in home appliances when it’s raining.
  • Have a plan for wet and humid days. If you have time, you can prepare for a foggy day ahead of time by doing laundry, cooking, and other tasks that will need power while it is hot outside. This will help you conserve energy when the weather turns dull.
  • Use timers. You can also use smart plugs or timers to control appliances such as your coffee maker, so you can wake up to freshly brewed coffee without having to wait by the machine and brew it yourself (which would waste energy).
  • Switch to LED light bulbs. Traditional incandescent light bulbs can use a lot of power over their lifetimes — primarily if they’re used frequently — so using more efficient LED bulbs will help you save money. 

Final Thoughts

Many homeowners turn to PV cells to reduce their cost of consumption and provide clean, non-exhaustible energy for their families. 

They choose solar PPA vs lease to acquire radiation converters. But what happens when it’s cloudy? 

You may have heard that solar cells are less efficient in the clouded atmosphere. It is true that solar panels on a cloudy day produce less electric potential, that doesn’t mean there is no energy produced at all. 

To get a better picture of power generation on different days, we need only to look at how PV cells function.