What if it’s cloudy? winter? night?
Some skeptics say that solar panels don’t produce electricity on cloudy days. That claim is false… for the same reason you can get sunburned when it’s cloudy.
Even during the grayest days, visible light still gets through rain and clouds. After all, the sky isn’t completely black—it’s just several shades darker.
One of the American cities with the most cloudy days is Seattle, and solar power is continuing to grow there (because it works).
“What about during winter?”
Solar panels work even better in cold weather. Also, the white snow reflects light, which helps improve performance. Winter will only hurt solar production if the panels are covered with snow, which you can simply brush off with a roof rake.
“Do solar panels work at night?”
If you’ve been wondering this, you’re not alone. No, solar panels do not generate power without sunlight. Thus, they do not produce energy at night.
That’s why there are two primary solutions to solve that problem.
1. Net Metering
2. Energy Storage in Batteries
With net metering, your home maintains a connection to the grid even after you install the solar panels. This connection ensures that you still have power regardless of variations in energy production.
Your panels produce more electricity than you need during the day. At night, when sunlight isn’t available, you draw on the credits you’ve earned from sending excess electricity back to the grid.
Ideally, the credits from your panels’ surplus production will cover you during the times when you need to draw electricity from the grid. In this case, the grid is serving as a form of energy storage.
Adding batteries to your system gives you power when the sun is down. The system automatically charges the batteries during the day and then uses the stored energy at night.