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Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days? (And Other Weather Conditions)

Photon Brothers Solar Panel House Cloudy Day

Do solar panels work on cloudy days? The answer is yes! Even indirect sunlight can offer substantial power gains with the right setup. The only time solar panels don’t function is at night. When the sun is down, they don’t gather any power. 

Solar experts can help you determine the best configuration for an area where cloud cover is common. Many weather conditions may affect your solar power supply, but there are an equal number of solutions.

This blog offers important tips and setup advice to help you generate the maximum amount of power, delving into topics like:

Want a high-performance solar system? Call Photon Brothers!

Our team of solar engineers craft custom solar systems to meet your power goals– regardless of the weather. Plus, our licensed electricians have a perfect safety record. You can sleep easy knowing your panels and home battery are installed safely and correctly! To schedule a free estimate, call us at (720) 370‑3344 (Colorado) or (805) 351‑3371 (California) or click below to use our online solar calculator.

The Number and Type of Panels You Have

If it’s a cloudy day and you’re expecting rain, your solar panels might only produce 20% of the power they would otherwise generate during a bright, sunny day. If you live in a climate with fewer sunny days than average, you might need to install more solar panels to generate the same amount of power. 

You should also consider installing premium panels that deliver higher efficiency levels, even in less-than-optimal weather conditions. Yes, these tend to cost more than conventional panels, but the energy savings you reap will more than offset the upfront price. 

At Photon Brothers, we’re proud to offer a 25-year production guarantee. We promise your panels will perform at a minimum of 90% efficiency after 25 years, or we’ll be back to make it right!

The Positioning of Your Panels

The direction and angle of your solar installation play a crucial role in how well your panels perform. In the northern hemisphere, where the sun drifts to the south, we typically recommend installing your panels on a south-facing roof to get as much sunlight as possible. This is especially important on cloudy days when sunlight is already limited.

If your home faces east-to-west, you can still install solar panels, but the reduction in efficiency might reduce your overall energy savings. Depending on your site conditions, you do have the option for a ground-mount installation.

Protecting Your Panels With Snow Guards

While clouds alone won’t stop you from powering your home with solar, add a dusting of snow cover, and you could see your output plummet. For this reason, snow guards are essential for homeowners in snowy climates like Colorado.

At Photon Brothers, we’re proud to provide snow guards for all of our solar customers. When snow accumulates on your panels, these guards help it slide off easier. Not only will this increase your solar energy production, but it will also protect against the weight of snow, which can damage your panels. 

A typical solar panel may be able to handle more than 800 pounds of weight, but a lot of snow could mean more than 1,000 pounds pressing down. When that snow shifts, it can be dangerous and damage your property underneath. Thankfully, snow guards will keep your panels, roof, and property safe and protected.

Maintaining Your Panels After a Snow Storm

Even with snow guards in place, you may be tempted to sweep any excess snow off your panels and roof– but don’t rush into it. First, remember that most tools you may have on hand could damage your solar panels and void your warranty. Secondly, if there’s a lot of snow, your panels will probably shed their snow cover quickly. The panels heat up and create a melted layer at the bottom, creating a slide for the snow to slip down. 

If there’s a lot of snow and you need to clear the bulk quickly to get your panels working again, opt for a soft, foam-headed snow broom. Remember that more than 160,000 people wind up in the ER yearly due to ladders. If you can’t safely access panels, give it some time and know that snow will eventually clear off them.

The Importance of a Backup Battery

Overcoming the ups and downs of solar production is much easier with a backup battery system. On sunny days, you may produce enough power to save it for those cloudy, dreary days when you barely see the sun. Storage lets you save power for when you need it.

Safeguarding Against Power Outages

Whether due to wildfires, storms, or grid failures, a backup battery is your protection against power outages. If the grid is down at night, you can still enjoy normal power if you have stored solar-generated electricity. This is true even if you don’t have solar panels installed, which is why solar batteries like the Tesla Powerwall can be a great alternative to a backup generator.

Get the most out of your solar panels. Call Photon Brothers!

For more than 10 years, our team of solar professionals has provided top-notch, high-performance solar systems. We have a perfect safety record and provide critter and snow guards for all installations. Plus, you can have peace of mind knowing that your panels are backed by our 25-year production guarantee. 

Call us at (720) 370‑3344 (Colorado) or (805) 351‑3371 (California) for a free custom estimate, or use our online solar estimator to get an instant ballpark price!

Photon brothers David Raichart

David Raichart

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