Does Solar Work on Cloudy Days?

Posted on: January 14, 2014

Thinking about installing solar on your home or business, but worried about cloudy weather preventing energy production? Don’t be!

Solar energy systems operate best in direct sunlight, but they will still produce energy on a cloudy day. On a normal cloudy day, there is still enough solar irradiance to allow the panel to produce electricity. Generally, on a fully cloudy day, you can expect a solar energy system to produce 50 percent or less of its normal capacity. On partially cloudy days, production can be significantly higher—especially on systems that utilize micro-inverters rather than string inverters.

A micro-inverter system has an inverter on every panel, allowing the efficiency level of each panel to vary while on a string inverter system, your production levels are only as strong as the weakest panel on each string. Micro-inverter systems can cost more upfront, but their improved efficiency levels can actually help your system pay for itself quicker if cloudy skies are frequent in your area or if you have trees or structures that shade a portion of your system every day.

What Happens To Your Power on a Cloudy Day?

If your home is still attached to the grid—like most are after having solar installed—then you have no reason to panic. Your home will simply pull the extra energy it needs from the grid and everything will continue on as normal.

It is no different than how your system acts during the night.

Cloudy Days in Southern California

Southern California’s climate offers more sunny days per year than almost any other area of the country. In the San Diego area, we average 266 sunny days every year—nearly 73 percent of all days in a year!

The San Diego metro area offers one of the best investment opportunities for solar energy in the world. With a mild climate (solar panels work at a higher efficiency in mild temperatures) and ample sunshine, your solar installation will pay for itself fast—sometimes in only a few short years, depending on system size, cost, and available incentives.

Want to Learn More About Solar in San Diego?

If you want to learn more about solar installation in San Diego and the surrounding area for your home or business, give us a call or fill out a contact form on the right. Our solar technicians can discuss the options that are available to you, assess your home’s solar potential, and even provide you with production and return on investment estimates!

Contact us today to get started!