Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days - Nature's Generator

Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days

We see more and more solar systems being installed in houses, yet many are still baffled about how solar panels work. And one of the questions often asked is, “Do solar panels work on cloudy days?”
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With skyrocketing energy costs and individuals keeping their carbon footprint in check, it’s encouraging to see that solar energy has become more popular over the years. In fact, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), solar power installation in homes increased by 34% in 2021 compared to the previous year.

While we see more and more solar systems being installed in houses, many are still baffled about how solar panels work. And one of the questions often asked is, “Do solar panels work on cloudy days?”. 

To answer that question, let’s first examine how solar panels work.

How do solar panels work?

From its name, you can quickly figure out that solar panels produce electricity from *obviously* solar energy – but how does this work? A solar panel is a device designed to convert light from the sun into electricity. If you look closely, you will see that these panels are made up of a number of smaller units called photovoltaic cells. 

To explain briefly, solar panels work by allowing packets of light (called photons) to be gathered and converted into power (DC). This power will then be sent through the solar system’s inverter and converted to alternating current (AC). AC is the standard electricity that flows out of electric outlets and is used by appliances and electronics at home.

What are the benefits of using solar panels?

What’s impressive about solar panels is that they allow users to rely less on the local grid using a renewable and fully reliable energy source. On top of this, there are plenty of benefits of installing solar power solutions for your residence; these include:

  • Environment Friendly

Fossil fuels and coal–these traditional power sources are non-renewable (depleting fast) and have been proven harmful to nature and human health. On the contrary, solar panels are renewable energy sources and create no harmful environmental effects.  

  • Significant Savings

As you utilize the energy produced by your solar system and reduce reliance on the local grid, you will pay less (if not zero) for your utility bills. In addition, the US government has offered a generous tax credit for installing solar photovoltaic systems to your home.  

Read more about the Solar Federal Tax Credit here 

  • Requires Minimum Maintenance

On top of reducing your carbon footprint and energy bills, another benefit of using solar panels for your residence is that they are very low maintenance. We’re talking about 20 years before they need any fixing/replacement. All you’re required to do is to give your panels a good wiping a couple of times each year.

  • Convenient Installation

If you purchase your solar panels from a reliable supplier, you will realize that they are not complicated to install. A good solar company will provide you with an easy-to-install and operate eco-power solution, and they will also have a help center that you can turn to if you need assistance at any time. 

Do solar panels work on cloudy days?

Since you know that solar panels use energy from the sun to provide electricity to our homes, you may be thinking, do solar panels work on cloudy days? How efficient are solar panels when there’s not much sun out?

To answer the first question, solar panels work even on cloudy days. What’s important to understand here is that solar panels do not need direct sunlight to produce energy. Solar panels can use indirect daylight to power the photovoltaic cells. Also, newer solar panel models are designed with advanced technology, allowing the solar system to collect and supply power on cloudy, rainy or even snowy days.  

Although technically, solar panels will work on cloudy days; however, their efficiency is significantly affected. On days when heavy clouds block the sun, expect that the output of your solar panels will only have a 10% to 25% standard output compared to a clear sunny day.     

To put it simply, solar panels do work on cloudy days, but they are just less efficient.

How much output will a 100-watt solar panel have on a cloudy day?

To give you an idea of how efficient solar panels are on a cloudy day, let’s take a 100-watt solar panel as an example. Based on testing, a single 100-watt solar panel (like Nature Generator’s Power Panels) will have an output of 10 to 20 watts on an average cloudy day. With a 10-watt output, you can still charge mobile phones, tablets, and lights.  

Related reading: 

How many watts does a microwave use? 

How many watts does a TV use?

What are the factors affecting the power output of solar panels?

You have to note that the efficiency of your solar panels depends on other factors besides climate conditions. Other factors that determine the power output of a solar panel include:

  • Efficiency 

The cell efficiency and the size of the solar panel affect its solar rating. This rating refers to the amount of watts produced by a single solar panel.

  • Solar Cells

The number of solar cells in a solar panel is another determinant of its power output. To give you an idea, a 60-cell panel has a wattage of around 300 to 350 watts, while a 72-cell solar panel has a power output of 350 to 400 watts. 

  • Solar Panel Type

The material used in the solar panel also affects its power output. Take note that there are three types, which are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and amorphous. 

Among the three types, monocrystalline solar panels are the most expensive but are the most efficient. Polycrystalline are lesser efficient compared to monocrystalline but are more affordable. The cheapest kind is amorphous, but it is the least efficient type of solar panel compared to the first two.

  • Placement 

Naturally, a solar panel's placement, latitude and inclination affect its overall output. These things should all be considered when installing solar panels in your home.

Can you run your whole house on solar power?

The quick answer to this is YES, you can rely on solar energy to power your whole house. In fact, there are more and more homeowners who are going off the grid by using an expandable solar system for their houses. 

The only vital question for you to answer is how much energy you require so you can determine the number of solar panels and the type of solar generator you should purchase.

Related reading: How Many kWh Does a House Use Per Day

Solar Home Power Backup

Nature’s Generator is your reliable Home Power Backup system. Our eco-power solutions are designed to be expandable so you can customize your solar system based on your needs. 

If you have questions and want to know more about how you can properly set up solar panels for your home, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.



* We want to give credit where credit is due. Professional writer, Ishna Sablaya, contributed research and content to this blog titled: Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days Thank you, Ishna, for your contributions!