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Will solar panels work on rainy days?

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It’s not shocking to hear that a solar panel generates the most electricity with clear, sunny skies — but what happens to system performance on cloudy or rainy days?

Well think of it like a beach day. Have you ever gotten a sunburn on a cloudy day because you didn’t apply sunscreen? Yes — the sun’s rays are still strong during days like this. Your panels will most definitely still generate electricity, just not as much as they would when the sun’s shining.

Do solar panels work during cloudy or rainy conditions?

The level of cloudiness, as well as the type of panels you have installed, are both factors. Standard panels are expected to harness about 50% less energy on average in comparison to a sunny day. That’s why it’s important to know that your excess electricity produced on sunnier days builds up credits with your utility company to supplement you on the cloudy ones.

Do panels work in the cold?

Cooler climates are actually optimal for solar panels. The amount of sunshine matters, but extreme heat can actually affect the efficiency of each system. So a sunny, cool day is the best option for solar production, and a cloudy, cool day is a close second.

If you’ve noticed, Germany, for example, is a world leader when comes to solar PV installed. Their climate tends to be cooler and cloudier, and solar works well. The country has installed over 25 GW, which makes up over half of the solar installed worldwide.

How does this affect you and your choice to go solar?

Simply put — it doesn’t. It’s not about the weather day to day, it’s about what’s generated per year. Solar installers usually have a few different financing options for you as well as a production guarantee, so you’ll receive all this information upfront during your in-home consultation. The solar representative will walk you through all of the options that will best suit your needs. 

So to answer this common question — solar does work on rainy days, and over production throughout the year will even out with net metering. Rain also helps keep your panels operating efficiently by washing away any dust or dirt. Who knew?

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