Do Solar Panels Generate Energy On A Cloudy Day Or At Night?

We often believe that solar panels do not work on a cloudy day or night. But do they? If you have solar panels installed or are planning to make a shift to sustainable energy usage, read this guide and learn more about the effect clouds and nighttime have on solar power efficiency.

Does A Cloudy Day Affect Solar Energy Generation?

On a cloudy day, there is a lower percentage typically between 25% - 45% of direct sunlight hitting the earth’s surface, which affects the efficiency and production of energy. Energy generation will not likely be completely zero on such days, but that solely depends on the quality of your solar panels and the cloud cover.

Some say that the energy production is much better on a cloudy day as the rays that penetrate the clouds are much stronger and help produce a much better output. However, that is still under debate. 

Key Takeaways

  • Solar panels do not need hot and warm weather to work the best;
  • Solar panels can work on cloudy days;
  • Solar panels work better in cold cities that are brighter;
  • While clouds or any other shade reduces the production level of solar panels, it still is a sustainable source of energy with multiple benefits.

do Solar Panels work on a cloudy day

What Do Solar Panels Use To Generate Energy?


Solar panels use the sun’s radiance to generate sustainable electrical energy. The Photovoltaics (PV) cells absorb sunlight and convert them into an electrical current, which can then be stored in batteries or thermal storage. While direct sunlight is not essential at all times for the panels to work, it does increase energy production over time. 


How Much Power Can Solar Energy Generate On a Cloudy Day?


Solar panels can generate up to 45% of the energy that they would produce on a regular sunny day. Solar panels can work on a cloudy day too and when they receive sunlight, they begin converting the sun’s rays from direct current (DC) into the alternating current (AC).

Do They Work On A Rainy Day?


Similar to cloudy days, solar panels can work on rainy days, but generate a much lower percentage of the usual production. Depending on the rain, the solar panels can generate as low as 10% and sometimes as high as 25% energy.


Don’t worry, rainy days are good for your solar panels as the rain washes away any dust and debris that may have become stuck on them, which will further improve the efficiency of electricity generation.


Do Solar Panels Work At Night?


The simple answer is, No. solar panels do not produce power during the nighttime. Solar panels need sunlight to generate energy.


Solar panels work all day to absorb direct current from the sun’s radiation to then convert it into AC (alternating current) that is used to operate your home appliances. Apart from generating power, they store the extra electricity generated in the thermal storage or the batteries that you set up along with the panels.


We will discuss how that works later, but first, let's make it clear that you don’t have to worry about not having electricity at night. Even if the solar panels do not work at night, the power stores they have spent the day charging can continue to supply the stored energy to power your household!


do solar panels work at night?

How Do Solar Storage and Metering Make Solar Sustainable During Nighttime?


Now that we know the solar panels do not work at nighttime, or when the sun’s radiation is not available, there are a few options that you can go for to store the energy and make the most out of your investment in sustainability.


What Is Net Metering?


The best part of installing solar panels is that you can export the additional energy produced by the solar panels to the main grid and earn some extra bucks.


However, this is not the only benefit. By keeping your connection to the main grid, you can still avail electricity whenever your supply from your solar panels is not enough. Especially when the solar panels work less on rainy or cloudy days, the main grid can fulfill the shortage. Don’t worry about the extra charges, as they get adjusted from the energy that you give back to the main grid.


What Are My Options For Backup Power?


During day time, we are usually out at work or even if we are at home, we don’t require electrically operated lights as much, compared to evenings.

For situations like these, we suggest you go for either net metering or batteries. However, choosing to go with net metering is a better option as it helps you earn money back from the grid with the excess supply.


Considering Going Solar?


Whether it is net metering or a solar storage option, solar is a great option to power your home and save on energy costs. At Everything Solar, we offer high-quality solar panels that are extremely efficient and effective in producing energy even on cloudy or rainy days.


With our 22 years of experience in installing and maintaining solar panels, Everything Solar has to be your go-to company for all your solar needs. Contact us today to find out how you can save more with solar panels while enjoying sustainable energy to power your homestead. 


Get a Free Solar Audit and see how much $$$ you could save monthly

Frequently Asked Solar Panel Questions


Do cloudy days affect solar panels?


Yes, solar panels generate energy on a cloudy day but at a lower percentage. This could be in the range of 10% to 45% as compared to a usual sunny day, depending on the cloud cover and the quality of your solar panels. Invest in high-quality solar panels from Everything Solar and end all your solar worries now.


How do solar panels work when there is no sun?


Solar panels can work on days without sun as they do not require direct sunlight to generate energy. However, the production capacity would be relatively low when compared to that on a bright sunny day.


What time of day is best for solar panels?


The brighter the sun, the higher the energy generation by the solar panels. Even though the panels work throughout the daytime, keeping this phenomenon in mind, the best time would be between 11 am and 4 pm.


Does solar power work at night?


Solar panels do not work at night, but solar power generated via solar panels during the day, can be used at night. Energy can be stored in batteries or shared back to the grid in order to offset any additional power you may need, beyond what your solar panels produce.