Effects of clouds and rain on solar panels
The science of producing electricity with solar panels comes down to the photovoltaic effect. When the sunlight strikes the surface of the panels, the cells convert it into electrical energy. Any obstacle that stops light from entering the modules may affect the efficiency of the panels and eventually the electricity production. So, what happens when it’s cloudy or raining? Let’s dig deeper and find out.
Efficiency of solar panels when it’s cloudy
There’s no need to worry as your solar panels still work on cloudy days. This is because sunlight reaches us through rain and clouds. However, as sunlight is limited, so is electricity generation. The amount of electricity produced depends on how dense the cloud cover is. For example, cirrocumulus or small fleecy clouds may not have a lot of impact on solar panel efficiency. However, on partly overcast or gloomy days, production can be inconsistent.
So how to meet power needs during rains?
Solar systems are generally of two types: on-grid and off-grid systems. On-grid systems are tied to the central grid or the mains electricity. And off-grid systems are usually connected to battery support.
When your solar system is unable to generate sufficient energy to meet your needs on rainy or cloudy days, you can draw extra energy from the utility grid. You will be charged for the excess power that has been drawn. However, the cost easily recovered during the sunny days when your solar system is at its peak. During this time, excess energy that is generated is sent back to the grid, and through net metering, you can earn extra credit for the energy produced. So if you have sized your system aptly, those surplus units of electricity will be credited to your electricity bill, and your electricity bill won’t be a concern during rains.
And with your off-grid solar system, instead of selling the excess energy, you can store it in a home battery storage. And this extra energy generated can be used in less productive periods like at night or during cloudy or rainy days.
Rains are not so bad after all
If we look at the positive side, rainy days are not as bad as they may seem. The panels get dirty over time, which impacts their output negatively. Rainwater washes away dirt, bird poop and other filth. This increases the efficiency of your solar system and also saves maintenance time and effort.
Ray of sunshine on gloomy days
With the advancement in technology, solar panels are getting productive and resilient even in difficult weather conditions like rains, lightning and extreme temperatures. One can easily make up for the loss of energy and money on such days when the days are bright again. With lowering prices and excessive benefits to the environment, solar panels are a reliable and a sustainable option for a brighter future.