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Will My Solar Panels Generate Electricity During Cloudy, Rainy, Or Snowy Days? What About At Night?

Do solar panels work at night?

Solar panels require sunlight for your home to generate electricity so they don’t work in the dark. So – the answer to this question is simple: no. The confusion surrounding solar working at night is often caused by the concept of solar storage, which allows homes to still have nightly energy supply.

A solar panel system has the purpose of absorbing sunlight, also known as photovoltaic energy (PV), and converting it to direct current (DC) power. The DC power is sent to be converted to alternating current (AC) power via the system inverter, which is the type of power most households are operating on. Your solar array can then feed electricity into your home. If it produces more power than you need, then the excess is fed back into the electric grid.

Since solar panels can only produce power during the day, the question then becomes “how will solar panels provide power overnight when there is no sunshine?” There are two primary solutions that help solve the problem. Net metering and solar-plus-storage technology allow your solar panel system to access electricity overnight when the output of solar panels is inactive, either by connecting to the electric grid or a battery. Solar panels are a renewable round-the-clock energy option, thanks to grid connections and solar energy storage.

How solar storage and net metering make solar sustainable during nighttime

Net metering is one of the biggest reasons home solar panel systems make a good investment. Here’s a simple way to understand what net metering does: when your solar panels produce excess energy they feedback to the grid. The utility instead pays you by deductions applied to your electric bill for the excess grid supply. In a sense, the excess production of your system will help you earn money.

Net metering also ensures that even after you install the solar panels your home can retain a connection to the grid. This grid connection ensures you still have power regardless of the daily or seasonal variations in the production levels of solar panels. During the daytime (especially during the balmy summer months) your panels could produce more electricity than you need. But, when sunlight is not available they will not generate at night–that’s when you draw on the credits you’ve received by sending excess electricity back to the grid. Ideally, the credits from the surplus production of your panels will cover you during the periods you need to draw electricity from the grid. The grid serves as a form of energy storage, in this case.

Do solar panels work on cloudy days?

The simple answer is that on cloudy days solar panels work-they just don’t perform as well as on a bright sunny day. Though estimates vary, on a cloudy day, solar panels can produce around 10–25% of their normal power output. It would be accurate to say that in rainy or cloudy weather, the solar panels do not work as well.

It’s important to mention here that cloudy and rainy climates are still often popular places for solar energy installations, contrary to what you might expect. The most important factor for solar panel success is the cost of electricity and not the amount of sunshine that a city receives. Many of the US’s top solar cities aren’t especially sunny. Instead, they have high electric prices, resulting in homeowners reaping substantial bill savings benefits and a fast break-even point.

Key takeaways: when will solar perform the best?

Solar panels will not work at the maximum output when clouds block the sun, and they will definitely not generate electricity when no sunlight is available during the nighttime hours. While planning a solar installation the aim is to plan accordingly. Whether it is net metering, the right solar energy storage option or even pairing an electric car with your system, in today’s day and age, almost anyone can find a solar energy system to power their home at the right price.

Considering Going Solar? Solar Harmonics is Here to Help


Most of our clients are looking for a company they can trust to help them go solar. Based on our decade in business, online reviews, and Diamond Certification, Solar Harmonics is the best choice to trust to complete your solar project on time, on budget, and with the expected results. It is our mission to design the best value solar panel system that produces reliably over the next 30 – 40 years, and saves the most money for our clients. If the financial goals of our clients intersects with the global and environmental goals of our founder, it is a win for everyone except the utility companies.  Contact us today for your free quote!

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