Shedding Light On Cloudy Days: How Do Solar Panels Perform In Overcast Weather?

Team Solarblocks Energy
January 11, 2024
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Shedding Light On Cloudy Days: How Do Solar Panels Perform In Overcast Weather?

How Do Solar Panels Function?

Let us go into the technical explanation of how solar panels work, to further understand if they function on cloudy days. 

Solar panels are sturdy equipment installed on the rooftops of most households. They are made of multiple small units called PV cells, mostly made of silicone which is a semi-conducting substance. These PV cells absorb photons from the sun's radiation, create an electrical field across the PV cell layers, and generate electricity. The device first converts sunlight into DC power, which is then sent to the system’s inverter. There, it gets converted to AC power (alternating current). 

The electricity generated via the solar panels feeds your home appliances and lights up the entire home. It is said that one PV cell can produce upto one to two watts of solar energy — just enough to operate a calculator. Therefore, to power an entire home, you should have an array of solar panels fitted on your house’s roof by a professional solar panel installer.

Do Solar Panels Work On Cloudy Days?

No, they do not work at night. Solar panels work on cloudy days but they need sunlight to create energy. The absence of it triggers no photovoltaic reaction in the panels. Consequently, no additional power is generated. This is where good quality solar batteries play a significant role. You can power your entire home at night or during a power outage with a solar storage solution like a solar battery.

Solar Storage Battery Systems

Imagine it is a rainy night with heavy thunderstorms and your entire home runs out of power. Now imagine the same situation with a rooftop solar system and a solar storage battery. The difference is surprising. 

Solar batteries can store the excess energy generated from the solar panels to use at night or during emergencies like a power outage. It stores electrical energy in chemical form for use whenever required. You can also recharge the battery with grid electricity if your solar system has low productivity. Hence it can be effectively used in cloudy weather when solar panel output is less.    

Solar batteries function for 10 to 15 years, which means you get plenty of time to make up for the purchase cost through utility bill savings. The equipment also eliminates the need to pay high electricity rates when used during peak hours. 

According to the US Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, the cost of a solar system plus the storage battery is around $25000 to $35000 depending on its size, rated power output, and storage capacity. So, to answer your concern about whether solar panels work on cloudy days, a better alternative is to store the unused power in a storage battery for later use. This way, you are always assured of an emergency power backup for the home.

Net Metering

Solar batteries are expensive and a huge investment for homeowners. This is when they can choose the option of net metering. 

Net Metering is not a physical energy storage system, but an electric billing tool that utilizes the utility grid to store the surplus energy produced by the solar panels. The excess energy from the system is exported to the grid and points are credited to your account. At night or when needed, you can draw this electricity from the grid by using the banked credits and offset its cost.  

When your energy use is lower than what the panels produce, the meter works in reverse, and the excess power is sent to the grid. However, when your energy requirements are more than what the panels produce, the meter runs forward and the electricity is pulled back from the grid.

Does net metering give you a monthly bill?

You get credits through net metering, which is not a cash payment. Some utility companies allow you to carry over the credits to future years, others don’t. Householders aim to buy solar systems of appropriate size and rating to be able to offset 100% of the electricity bills.

Using Energy-Efficient Appliances 

Experts advise using energy-efficient home appliances for people opting for solar. With devices like solar thermostats and heat pumps, you can cut down on electricity usage from the local utility providers. A holistic home efficiency approach embedded with solar can help you lower electricity bills and reduce home carbon emissions.

Why Are Solar Panels A Good Investment?

Solar panels are a great investment for the home environment. They are affordable, efficient, and the fastest means to reduce carbon footprint. It is cost-saving and grants you complete energy independence from the fluctuating electricity rates and the harmful impacts of fossil fuels. Moreover, solar panels work in cloudy weather, which means you never have to worry about a house power outage during a blackout.

  • Increases home resale value 

Homes with solar sell faster and earn more than normal ones. Per a 2019 report by Zillow, houses with rooftop solar sell 41.% more than residences without any. This is because green homes are becoming increasingly popular in the US real estate market and they capture more attention from buyers. 

  • Save on Electricity bills

A solar system lets you offset 100% of the electricity costs provided by the local utility provider. Many government-provided incentives, tax credits, and net metering enable you to earn credits for going solar, so you can enjoy risk-free savings and pay off your solar investments in no time. With solar panels, you can also avoid paying electricity rates during peak hours when the prices surge. 

  • Produce energy as needed

With solar, you can conveniently control your home electricity production without paying extra charges. A professional solar panel installer will help customize the solar system to meet your energy needs and tailor it to the changing times. 

  • Have power backup

Home power outages are a common incidence. By installing solar battery storage, you can easily sideline this disruption and use the stored power to electrify your home. 

  • For the future of the planet

According to Palmetto Solar, an average-sized solar system can eliminate three to four tons of carbon emissions every year. This is equal to planting more than 100 trees. Home solar systems are also great for lowering carbon emissions and lessening overall environmental pollution.

Consult Experts

Get in touch with the renowned professionals working at Solarblocks. We are a team of solar energy experts providing tailored solar solutions to every residential customer. From installing solar panels to solar storage systems, we take care of all your home energy needs and help you save on your out-of-pocket costs. 

Visit our website to know more.


  1. Do solar panels work on cloudy days?

Solar panels work less effectively in cloudy weather conditions than on a bright sunny day. This is because solar panels need direct sunlight to produce energy. When the sky is overcast, solar panels charge from indirect sunlight and the reflected hues but the output is less than half of the electrical power generated on a normal day. Optimal solar panel production depends on the placement of the panels. Hence it is always advisable to keep the panels away from the shade where ample sunrays are available. 

  1. How much energy does a solar panel produce?

In 2023, most solar panels produce an output between 250 and 450 watts of power, depending on peak sun hours, climate of the region, power rating, and panel placement. Solar panels charge on cloudy days but not to the extent that they would on a normal bright sunny day. If you install a 30 panel rooftop solar system, it will generate more than the electricity used by your house for a year.   

  1. What is the average cost of a solar storage battery?

The cost of installing a rooftop solar system with a solar storage battery is around $25000 - $35000. If you install the battery separately, it costs between $12000 and $22000. The prices can also vary from one company to another. 

  1. Do solar panels charge at night?

No, solar panels do not work at night because of the absence of direct sunlight. This is why using a solar battery storage system is extremely useful. The batteries store the excess energy produced from the panels to use at night or during a blackout. You can also charge the battery with grid electricity, when solar panels output is low and use the power at convenience. 

  1. How do solar panels produce energy?

Solar panels work on the mechanism of the photovoltaic effect. The panels are made of minute small cells called PV cells. These capture photons from the sun's rays and generate DC power. This energy is sent to the inverter where it gets converted to AC power for use. Solar panels do not charge optimally on cloudy days due to the absence of sunlight.

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