Upcoming Meetings

Apr 11

April 2019 Chapter Meeting

Homeland Security Situational Awareness

Register Now

Apr 15

April 2019 Board Meeting

Monthly meeting of the Board of Directors


How Efficient are Solar Panels in Bad Weather?

Solar panels are becoming more commonplace in homes and businesses across the world. They help home and business owners save money on their electric and heating bills. They also generate safe, green energy without having to use fossil fuels like coal or gasoline.

If you have contemplated installing solar panels in your building, you might wonder how they perform in overcast weather. You may be convinced of their worth by discovering their efficiency in all weather conditions even when the skies are cloudy.

Solar Panels and Cloudy Weather

A big misconception among people who do not own solar panels is that these fixtures have to be exposed to intense and bright sunlight in order to work properly. After all, they cannot generate power if the sun is not shining down on them, correct?

In fact, this belief is entirely wrong and one that solar panel manufacturers and companies are trying to dispel. They want home and business owners to know that solar panels do not require bright, sunny skies in order to function. They can still generate energy even when the sun is overcast by clouds.

Just as you can get a sunburn on a cloudy day, so too can solar panels absorb sun rays on days that are overcast. Some sunlight still gets through the clouds, allowing the panels to generate electricity and power for the building on which they are installed.

However, the amount of energy they produce on cloudy days depends on factors like how thick the clouds are. On days that are heavily overcast, the panels might generate around 10 to 25 percent of their capacity, which still would make an impact on lowering your energy bills.

Solar Panels and Snow and Ice

Another misconception among home and business owners is that solar panels will not work if they are covered in snow and ice. In fact, these panels rarely become piled up with snow and ice. They are typically installed at an angle so the precipitation slides off of them especially when they become heated after absorbing the sun's rays.

If you live in a part of the globe that experiences a lot of ice and snow, you can still get a good return on your solar panel investment. Solar panels are designed to function even when it is snowing or icing outside. They will still generate safe and clean energy that will reduce your building's carbon footprint and lower your utility costs.

Solar Panels and Cold Weather

Just as they perform well in snowy and icy conditions, so too do they function the same if not better in locations that experience cold weather. They do not require hot and sunny conditions to work as designed. In fact, studies have shown that solar panels do just as well or better in parts of the world that have colder weather.

For example, places like San Francisco, New Jersey, and New York are among the top 10 solar power locations even though these places experience colder weather than other parts of the country. The panels actually generate less energy when the weather is hot and muggy outside and the sunlight is beating directly down on them.

Solar Panels and Hail Stones

At first glance, you might assume that solar panels are delicate and fragile fixtures. They look like they might shatter into a million pieces if they were ever hit with a hail stone.

However, these panels are actually designed to withstand direct impact from debris like hail stones. They undergo mandatory testing before they are ever sold and installed in homes and businesses to make sure they can hold up in stormy weather.

Studies have consistently shown that hail stones, even sizable ones, cannot break or shatter the solar panels. It would take a significant storm to compromise the structural integrity and the generating power of solar panels.

Solar panels do not need direct sunlight and warm weather to function correctly. They can absorb light from the sun and generate safe and efficient power even on cloudy, stormy, and cold days. Their versatility allows them to be installed in many locations around the world and return a buyer's investment without consuming fossil fuels like coal or gas.

If you're an IFMA-LI member, please login so you can comment on this article.

Return to list