When making the decision to install solar panels in your home or business, one thing you may be wondering is if they work on cloudy days. After all, solar needs sun, and in many parts of the country Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate.
If you’ve ever gotten a sunburn on a cloudy day at the beach, you understand that the sun’s ultraviolet rays are still able to reach the earth. And the same holds for solar.
Under a light cloud cover, the panels might produce about 50% as compared to full sun. When it’s more overcast, most solar panels are able to produce 15%-30%. So while you may not be generating as much power, you will still be generating electricity.
Are solar panels a good match for cloudy locations?
- Germany is not considered a sunny and warm country, (it only receives as much annual sunlight as Alaska) yet Germany is home to half the entire world’s supply of solar panels. In fact, one third of the country’s daily energy use is powerd by solar.
- New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York are all ranked in the top ten solar states. You do not need to live in “The Sunshine State” in order to effectively utilize solar energy.
How will a cloudy day effect your electric bill?
When calculating how much you can save on your electric bill by using solar power it is important to focus on how much sunshine is received over the course of a year rather than in a single day. Even if you live in a cloudy location you may get enough annual sunlight for solar energy to be right for you. Though collecting less then on a sunny day, there will you can still benefit from the excess power generated on sunny days that was then credited to your account through net metering.
The bottom line is that solar panels are able to absorb UV radiation even on cloudy days, but typically less than half of the power production in ideal conditions.
Just keep in mind that one rainy day shouldn’t put a damper on your decision to go solar. Whether you live in New Mexico or New Jersey, when you factor in the savings over the course of the entire year — you’ll find that solar offers a great return on your investment.