We’re reaching the climax of summer, which is a popular season to install solar panels on your home. But fall and winter are right around the corner, and it begs the question: how will your panels perform during cloudy days? Even in America’s “Sunshine State” of Florida, rain clouds and thunderstorms are commonplace. Do solar production levels decrease with the stormy weather?
Yes and no. Let’s take Germany for example. Germany is one of the leading countries that has implemented solar power with over 40 gigawatts of solar capacity installed. To put that in perspective, just one gigawatt can power around 700,000 homes. The number of solar panels they have could power much of Germany. However, the country is known for its consistently gloomy days.
How does Germany overcome the weather? With the use of battery banks to store the energy from those few gloriously sunny days. Battery banks are becoming a more feasible option, but not every house in the US is viable for collecting backup energy. What we currently use is net metering, to make up for the days (or nights) when solar production is at an all-time low.
In its simplest form, net metering is a way for homeowners and businesses to receive credit for excess energy production. On the sunniest of summer days, when your panels produce more electricity than your home needs, the utility company supplies you with a form of money back on your power bill. With net metering, you also remain connected to the power grid, providing a failsafe to fall back on if your solar system isn’t producing at high levels.
Beyond that, solar panels actually show a decrease in production on abundantly hot days. The deserts of Arizona and California see temperatures of up to 120 degrees, and these high temps negatively impact solar productivity. Solar cells use a chemical reaction to convert sunlight into electricity. Extreme heat causes the reaction to be less efficient. Solar production is maximized at temperatures around 77 degrees, and become less efficient in the hottest weather (by up to 25%).
Regardless of sun or cloud cover, your solar panels will continue to work, even in the fall and winter. As long as there is daylight, panels will provide electricity for your home. The rate of production may decrease by 10-25%, but there will still be enough light to positively impact your electric bill throughout the year. This is why rainier states like Oregon, as well as countries like Germany, still use our most renewable energy source to power their homes and businesses.
Urban Solar can answer your weather-related solar questions. Contact us today to find out if solar power is right for you!