Does Solar Energy Work on Cloudy Days

Cloudy skies over residential solar panels

Because a solar panel needs solar to generate electricity, it’s easy to assume that when there is very little sun, you will be without power. However, you might be surprised to learn that this is not the case. Though there’s no question that solar panels work best with full, direct sunlight, they will still function in indirect sunlight. And, with a grid-connected solar energy system, you can ensure your home or business is not without power during periods when your power demand outpaces production. Explore the following to gain a deeper understanding of solar energy systems:

  1. How does solar production work on cloudy days?
  2. How does a grid-connected system work?
  3. How can a solar provider benefit me?

You can understand the answers to each of these questions in the breakdown below.

How Does Solar Production Work on Cloudy Days?

Solar production may be lower on a cloudy day, but there have been advancements in solar technology to make sure that you can have a solar array and reliable power whether the sun is shining or not. Many panels are designed to capture a greater percentage of the solar spectrum, so you aren’t reliant on perfectly sunny days. When the sun is completely absent (for example, at night), having a grid-connected solar energy system ensures that the lights stay on.

How Does a Grid-Connected System Work?

With a grid-connected system, you benefit from being able to supply any excess energy generated on sunny days right back into the grid. In this situation, a net metering arrangement is typically used, which will credit the cost of the electricity supplied back into the grid by the solar panels. In other words, the meter spins forward when you use grid electricity, and spins backward when your system supplies it. If your usage is less than the energy your panels generate, you can earn money for the excess!

What is a Grid-Connected Solar Energy System?

A grid-connected system allows you to power your home (or small business) with renewable solar energy. Simply put, your solar array is linked to the utility’s grid (just like the other businesses and homes in your community). This also means that any excess energy created by your system can be provided back to the utility.
However, when solar energy is not available during periods of inclement weather, for instance, you can rely on grid power to keep your home or business running. Your connection to the grid functions like a battery backup, kicking on and supplying power during periods when your system is no longer generating it. Since electricity can’t be stored like natural gas, having the assurance of standby power can make all the difference when it comes to your peace of mind—and maybe even your bottom line. Read more about how solar can benefit your pocketbook in our blog post, What Are Solar Incentives?.

How Can a Solar Provider Benefit Me?

When the weather is less than ideal, knowing that you have power available when you need it is everything. But even more than that, the company standing behind your power makes all the difference. IGS Solar is a turnkey commercial and residential solar provider that enables organizations to take advantage of solar through a solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Through this model, the solar asset is owned and maintained by us, while our customers benefit by saving on their energy costs. We’re committed to making the process of going solar simple and accessible, and we proudly serve as a trusted partner to our customers on over $150 million in solar projects across the country.

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