Will my solar panels work during cloudy weather? Will I still have electricity at night with solar panels? What happens when it rains with solar panels? There are LOTS of questions homeowners have when it comes to making the switch to free and clean solar energy. Here at Steel City Solar, we understand that the performance of your solar system really matters. It’s what powers your home. That’s why it’s important to know if your solar energy output will work properly during adverse weather conditions. Rain, snow, and cloudy weather can affect the performance of your panels, but that’s not all you need to understand.

The good news is that your solar system continues to work during inclement weather. However, the performance will be limited and dependent on how much sun is getting through the clouds. Your panels need direct sunlight to gather the maximum amount of energy to operate properly.
Let’s examine how your solar panels perform during different weather events. This will help you understand how weather can impact their performance and efficiency.

Your Energy Remains Consistent Day and Night

What’s important to always remember is this: with Steel City Solar, we help you take advantage of the free energy given to us by the sun’s rays. However, you’ll still remain on your local energy provider’s grid. This always gives you the safety and security of knowing that no matter the weather conditions, day or night, your power will remain just as consistent as your grid-exclusive neighbors. The only difference will be that your home will reap the benefits of soaking up free energy provided by the sun. You’re in luck when it comes to considering solar energy options. That’s because Southern Colorado has some of the sunniest stretches of weather in the U.S.

Do solar panels work on cloudy days?

As long as the sun is up and the panels are being exposed to direct or indirect sunlight, then the solar system will work during cloudy days. The performance may be diminished based on how much sunlight can get through the cloud cover.

Solar panels will produce 10% to 20% of their full wattage during a cloudy day. This is assuming that the clouds are blocking a high amount of sunlight. If it’s only partly cloudy or it’s cloudy for a short period of time the panels will perform much better.

But there are times during a cloudy day when the solar panels may work better than normal. This could be due to the silver lining effect. That’s when the sun’s light passes over the edge of the cloud and for short periods of time the sun’s energy is magnified. This will create a sudden burst of energy absorbed by your solar array. During periods of snow and rain, this phenomenon can also occur.

What about rainy days?

Similar to cloudy days, solar panels work just fine in the rain. There’s just a lower amount of energy absorbed by the panels. This is assuming it’s a cloudy rainstorm. If it’s a sun shower or just light rain, the panels will perform just fine.
When it rains, the water will wash away any dust and debris from your solar panels. This will heighten their efficiency and solar energy output when the sun is shining. This is why it’s important to perform proper maintenance on your system. So even though the rain may diminish their efficiency during the storm, they’ll actually work better when the sun returns.

Do solar panels work on snowy days too?

If it’s heavy snowfall, and your panels are covered in snow, then their performance will be diminished. If the snow is heavy enough to block any sunlight from reaching the panels then the performance will be greatly reduced or temporarily shut down completely.

In cold weather, your solar panels may perform better. Like most appliances, they operate better in cold conditions. If the temperature drops below 77 degrees Fahrenheit, their performance output increases. If it’s winter and the days are shorter and daylight is less, it could affect their performance simply due to limited sunlight.

During heavy snowfall, the performance may decrease, due to the fact that  the panels are covered in a thick layer of snow. This prevents them from drawing any power from the sun. But if you clear the snow from the panel and the sun is shining, it will operate just fine. If the panels are surrounded by snow the reflective surfaces of the snow and ice may even help the panels gather more light and work at full efficiency.

Thankfully, solar panels are designed to be set at an angle. When the sun shines on snow-covered panels, it heats the snow and ice, allowing the temperature to rise on the panels and the snow to melt off more quickly than on other surfaces.

What if I live in a cloudy climate?

Most solar systems are designed based on the size of the property and the environment where the house is located. The solar system installed on your property will take into account hours of sun exposure, local weather conditions, shade analysis, and other environmental factors. This will ensure your system will operate at an optimum level year-round.

If you live in areas of Southern Colorado, like Pueblo and Pueblo West, you’re in luck. Although the exact average number of sunny days is up for contention based on how many hours of sun that are needed, we still rank well above the national average for sunny days per year. You can expect at least around 200 sunny days, which may in fact reach around 300 sunny days per year. If you ask us, this makes Southern Colorado one of the best places to install solar panels.

Something else to consider is net metering. Your electric company will measure the days of low sun, rain, and cloudy weather throughout the year. This can offset your energy usage and keep your utility bills low depending on how many kilowatt hours of power your system generates. This is assuming your panels generate more energy than your home actually uses per month.

Can solar panels withstand any adverse weather?

Solar panels are manufactured to be certified IEC, CE, and UL and can usually withstand heavy snowfall, heavy wind, and 1-inch-sized hailstones traveling at 50 mph. So they’re built tough! There are panels that are available that can withstand more powerful conditions but the standard models hold up just fine to Colorado winters.

Get Your Own Solar System and Start Soaking Up the Sun’s Clean Energy

Solar panels are built to perform in all sorts of inclement weather conditions and provide power and comfort to you and your family. Luckily for Southern Colorado homeowners and businesses, the abundance of sunny days makes this climate the perfect place for fully taking advantage of the free energy from the sun.

Solar systems are made to work in every climate and are designed for your specific property and power needs. If you’re currently enjoying the many benefits of solar power, then congratulations on reducing your carbon footprint and lowering your utility bills. But if you’re still giving it some thought then it’s time to chat with our friendly solar pros here at Steel City Solar. We’ll be happy to give you a free consultation to help you save money this year. Give us a call at 718-569-5166 or visit our website today!