Solar panels are an excellent method to generate clean, renewable power. Do they work when the sun isn’t shining? It turns out that solar panels can produce electricity on overcast days as well as sunny ones! The key is in their design: Solar cells capture and convert sunlight to be stored and converted into usable energy at any time of day.
Do solar panels need direct sunlight?
Solar panels work best in direct sunlight, but they can also produce electricity with indirect or diffused light. This allows them to gather both types of photons to generate a charge.
Although direct sunshine is not required for proper growth, there will be a loss of performance without it. This is because direct sunlight provides 1000 W/m2 of solar energy. Without it, the panels can only reach peak output with natural light shining on them.
This is why it’s essential to know the difference between direct and indirect sunlight.
Do solar panels work in the shade?
Yes, solar panels can work in the shade, but they will generate less electric current than under optimum conditions.
The exact impact of shading on your solar power system depends on these factors:
-Number of cells (solar modules) and their orientation relative to one another;
-How much light is blocked by a tree or building;
-The number and severity of shadows during peak sun hours:
-How many panels do your system uses.
- Shading Duration:
If your solar panels are in the shade for a long time, the amount of electricity they produce will be less. The sun moves, so you have to watch out for shadows.
The less direct sunlight your panels receive, the lower their production. This is because more shadows will fall on the solar cells and block out rays of light.
If you place your system in a location that gets little sun, it may take longer for them to produce enough electricity to power all of your appliances together (full load).
- The technology used in the solar panels:
Modern solar panels that use half-cut photovoltaic cell technology are meant to reduce the impact of partial shade. This isn’t the case, though, with traditional solar panels (i.e., those that don’t employ half-cut PV cells)
- Inverter setup:
If a central string inverter is utilized, the power output of the entire solar array will be reduced. In contrast, if MLPEs – microinverters or DC power optimizers are used – shading on a single panel does not affect other panels and only causes a minor reduction in energy production.
A professional solar installer can calculate how much shade a particular roof section will receive over the year, as well as help you calculate solar panel output and your solar payback period.