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Do Solar Panels Work In Winter & On Cloudy Days?

Do solar panels work in winter and on cloudy days?

It's natural to question whether solar panels are right for your home. Many homeowners contemplating upgrading to solar energy wonder whether solar panels will even work in winter or on cloudy days. The good news is that they absolutely do.

Solar panels draw energy from the sun, but that doesn't mean solar panels only work on sunny afternoons or long summer days. They can benefit from the sun's natural energy in every month of the year even on cloudy mornings and short winter days.

How do solar panels make energy?

Each solar panel is made up of solar PV cells (or solar photovoltaic cells) that generate power from daylight, not sunlight or heat, and they're made using semi-conducting substances, often silicon. When light shines on them, it makes particles called electrons move, creating electricity. That means solar PV panels will generate electricity during the day, but never at night (but this needn’t be an issue if you have a battery so read on).

Because solar PV cells respond to light, stronger sunlight generally means more electricity. Your solar panels will usually get the most light around noon, when the sun is highest in the sky and on a clear sunny day, when the light is brightest. But even the grey low light of a gloomy winter afternoon releases enough energy to make electricity.

Do solar panels work in cloudy weather?

Modern solar panels work reasonably well in cloudy weather, even though the light on cloudy days isn’t as strong. And that makes sense the sun doesn't suddenly stop working because of a bit of cloud.

And surprisingly, rain can even make solar panels work better by washing away any dust or dirt that might block light.

Do solar panels work in winter?

Solar panels work through all four seasons of the year, come rain or shine, or even hail or in light snow. But solar panels do generally produce less energy in winter. That's because the days are shorter, so there are fewer hours of daylight and the sun is lower in the sky, on average. On the plus side, cold temperatures mean solar panels work more efficiently than during hot weather.

And you needn’t worry about those rare snowy days – while a solar panel that’s covered in snow cannot absorb light to make electricity, thankfully in UK temperatures, snow will typically slide off correctly mounted solar panels or melt due to residual heat.

How much power can a solar PV system produce?

How much power a solar PV system produces depends on a range of factors, including the size, angle and direction of your roof as well as local weather patterns across the seasons. Likewise, electricity use will vary from household to household.

A 12-panel solar system could generate enough electricity in a year to power a Tesla Model 3 for 17,660 miles of driving, run an A++ dishwasher for a whopping 4,465 loads or save over £534 a year on your electricity bills.

A professional solar installer can advise on the right system based on your personal patterns of electricity use and the design of your home.

Why should I get a solar battery?

Most homes use more energy at times of the year when there are fewer hours of daylight so solar panels generate less electricity. An easy way to get around this problem is to add a solar battery system to your solar panels. You can get a new battery even if you have existing solar panels.

This lets you store unused electricity for later, allowing you to power your home after dark, or charge an electric vehicle overnight for your commute in the morning.

If we’re installing your solar panels, you can add a solar battery to your solar system from just £2,574 and offer interest-free finance too. We are a credit broker and not a lender.

You’ll have peace of mind, knowing that your battery storage comes with a 10-year warranty and if you generate more electricity than you can store in your battery – you can get paid for any electricity you export to the National Grid with our Smart Export Guarantee.

Where can I learn more about solar and renewables?

Solar panels are a big investment and one of the best things you can do for the environment at home.

You can learn more about how the sun's energy can help you become more sustainable and spare your pennies too with these six great tips for harnessing sun power around the house. Or, to discover other great renewable energy solutions for the home, from 100% renewable electricity to air source heat pumps, read these seven ways to power your home with renewable energy.

NOTE: Figures shown are based upon average statistics from various UK manufacturers. They assume a south facing roof, no direct sun blockage and typical UK sunny days. Figures should not be used to form part of your investment or potential savings. Always consult with your installation company before making any decisions.

To find out more about whether solar panels are right for you get a free quote from SolarQuote. Putting you in contact with the top rated solar panel installers in Essex.


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