Solar Blog

Will My Solar Panels Work When It is Cloudy or Rainy?

Energy Efficiency and Solar ROIs

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels generate the most energy per square meter when they receive direct sunlight.

But what happens when it is overcast and rainy?

When clouds block out the sun, your solar panels will still produce clean electricity. This is true even in the wintertime (in fact, all things being equal, modern PV panels actually perform better in colder temperatures).

But how can solar panels possibly generate power under cloud cover?

Why Solar Power Works on Overcast Days

Solar panels harness both visible light and infrared light in order to create usable electricity:

  • Even during the grayest days, visible light still gets through rain and clouds. After all, the sky is not completely black it is just several shades darker.
  • light gets through even more easily because it has longer wavelengths than the visible spectrum does. This is why we are able to see distant galaxies using infrared telescopes, despite all of the interstellar dust spanning the many light-years in between.
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    Even if solar panels only used ultraviolet light, they would still be able to generate electricity during cloudy days. If you have ever gotten sunburned on an overcast afternoon, you understand this concept intuitively.

    But all of the above is theoretical. Let us look at some actual proof that solar works just fine in cloudier, rainier climates.

    Real-world Proof That Solar Works When It is Rainy or Cloudy

    You would think that countries along the equator would lead the global solar revolution. But in fact, many of the most active solar hotspots are in colder, rainy regions that do not receive year-round sunshine:

  • The undisputed leader, Germany is able to cover 50% of its electricity needs using nothing but solar energy.
  • Not far behind is the United Kingdom a country with notoriously overcast skies. And yet, the UK has enjoyed tremendous success with its solar initiatives.
  • A little closer to home are New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut northern states that receive their fair share of storms and cold temperatures. Customers in these areas would not invest in solar power if the numbers did not make sense. And yet, these are some of the most active markets that Direct Energy Solar currently serves.

    But we want you to be 100% confident before moving forward with your solar purchase.

    Put us to the test and have our expert installation team come out and analyze your property free of charge. We will walk you through the numbers and tell you (in advance) how much clean electricity you will be able to generate once you decide to go solar. Because we back these numbers up with our ironclad production guarantee, you have nothing to lose.