Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

The Science Behind Cloudy Day UV Rays

If you are considering purchasing solar panels for your home you probably have a lot of questions about how they work. One frequently asked question customers have is, “Do solar panels work on cloudy days?” The short answer is, YES! This article touches on the reasons solar panels work on cloudy days. 

What happens on a cloudy day?

If you have been sunburnt on a cloudy day, then you are well aware that just because there are clouds in the sky, it does not mean the sun is gone! While clouds do reduce some of the sun’s UV rays, they don’t block all of them. It is crazy to think that up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds.

Wear Your Sunscreen and Get Your Solar Panels Ready

“Wear your sunscreen” is something that seamlessly slips from any parent’s mouth when heading outside. Doctors tell us to wear sunscreen even when direct sunlight isn’t an issue. Take it a step further and globally run cosmetic companies are telling us to wear sunscreen by placing SPF in skin moisturizers. It is safe to say, the point has been made. The sun’s rays are potent no matter the weather pattern. 

Why worry about the UV rays if there is no sun (to be seen) in the sky? The simple answer is – the sun will find a way! The sun’s UV rays can pass through clouds and even penetrate below water’s surface. Because the sun’s rays are still hitting you on a cloudy day, solar panels are still able to catch those rays. But how much power can solar panels actually produce on a cloudy day? 

Photovoltaic (PV) panels can still produce up to 25% of their optimal capacity! PV panels are able to use this partial sunlight to generate power. Partial sunlight is received when the sun’s rays are reflected from another surface, or when the sun is obscured by cloudy skies. 

Net Metering Can Help!

If your utility company offers a net metering policy, this can be a great way to use those rays to your benefit all year round. Net metering is a policy that allows the homeowner and the utility company an exchange of power. When your solar system is producing more electricity than your home needs, you send the extra power back to the grid. When your system isn’t able to generate enough power, like during a cloudy day, then you will pull power out of the grid. Your power usage and the surplus that you produce will be calculated for your monthly bill. 

North Carolina is a great state for Solar!

According to the National Climatic Data Center the average annual sunny days in Raleigh, North Carolina is 217 days out of the year.  That is great news for solar customers! With more days during the year being sunny rather than not, our state is great for solar energy (and sunscreen).

The Silver Lining

Even if there are cloudy days (however few we have), solar panels will still be able to produce electricity for your home. During those weeks or months where we have way more cloudy days then normal, net metering will help you. No matter the weather pattern, solar panels are a reliable way to harness those UV rays for good and not an evil sunburn. 

For More Information

At NC SOLAR NOW, we are North Carolina’s Most Trusted solar panel installer and embrace the philosophy that solar is for everyone! We’ll be by your side from your first free virtual consult through our warranty period and beyond. Check us out on Facebook or Instagram. Visit us online at NC SOLAR NOW, send us a message, or call us at 919-833-9096.

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