Do Solar Panels Need Direct Sunlight to Work Properly?

This entry was posted in Solar Services on by .

The power of the sun is, without a doubt, an environmentally friendly way to produce clean electricity in the Valley of the Sun. While solar panels produce the most energy in direct sunlight, they can also produce energy using indirect sunlight. But does that mean that solar panels work in most weather conditions?

Weather and Your Solar Panels

Clouds, rain, hail, and shade from nearby buildings or trees can all impact how much direct sunlight panels receive. Direct beam solar radiation, known commonly as direct sunlight, is required for solar panels to reach peak output. Your panels can work in diffused solar radiation, or indirect sunlight, but will generate less electric current.

Cloudy Weather Conditions and Power Output

Solar panels can produce electricity on cloudy days, just not as efficiently as they would on a sunny day. Clouds block a portion of the sun’s energy from reaching your roof or ground installed solar panels. Partly sunny skies may reduce power output from 40% to 90% of full sun output. Taller monsoon cloud formations will generate the least amount of solar panel electricity.

Solar panels produce electricity from the photons present in natural sunlight, the basic unit of all light, so panels don’t need direct sunlight. Your panels have concentrators using lenses and mirrors to maximize any sunlight reaching their photovoltaic cells (PV). A recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy has shown that production of electricity by large solar panels on rainy or cloudy days fluctuated less than in small solar panels. So the size of your panels can also affect a reduction in solar energy.

Rain, Hail and Power Output

Rainfall can result in temporary power output reductions. But precipitation can also help clean solar panels which increases output. Solar panels are slick and will easily shed rain or hail from a summer monsoon storm.

Have questions about whether solar is right for your home? Call the experts at Cool Blew Solar at 623-234-2836.