What happens to solar panels at night?
In order for photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into electricity, there must be sun. At nighttime, when the sun makes its daily round across the globe to provide other areas with sunlight, solar panels also go into sleepy mode. Solar panels work best during the seasons where sun is more available with longer hours, such as the summer.
Of course, like myself, I have a tendency to work late at night and I often enjoy those late night movies playing on my television set prior to going to bed; thus, if you’re like me, two scenarios may occur for those who need energy in the wee hours of the evening and middle of the night.
Scenario number one occurs when the solar panels go into standby mode. Once standby mode happens, power can be switched to be drawn from the utility grid. Solar power can be used at the same time as the utility if necessary.
Scenario number two occurs when electricity is drawn from a battery bank. During the daytime hours, battery banks store energy throughout the day in order to be utilized at night. Many customers also like to get backup-batteries in case of emergency situations where power outages occur. Solar companies such as The Solar Company can provide you with this additional hardware, if needed.
The battery bank is a highly utilized and successful method to provide power at night, especially during extended blackouts if necessary. In either case, the company which installs your solar panels should analyze your situation and provide you with the best solutions to optimize solar energy use so that you can save money, be prepared for unexpected power outages, and meet and/or exceed your solar goals. Battery back-ups can be used for small scale cases such as residential homes as well as larger scale cases such as commercial. In certain cases, battery back-ups may not even be necessary so it’s important to discuss this with your solar installer.
Have you ever seen streetlights with solar panels above them? This is a great example of how solar power does an amazing job of absorbing and conserving solar energy throughout the day in order to be used to light street lamps during the night.
What happens to solar panels on cloudy days?
As with nighttime hours, the efficiency of solar panels decreases on cloudy days since less sunlight can pass through the clouds to reach your solar roofs; however, this does not mean that zero power is being produced – just a lot less. Maximum sunlight is necessary in order to provide optimal performance.
The same applies to areas/properties that have a lot of obstruction from things such as trees and other buildings. The good news is that solar panels work very well in the summer (during those much needed AC days) due to more sunlight availability at extended hours.
If trees are a problem, there may be the option to cut them down or trim them if solar is highly desired. For some, it’d be a good excuse to take care of the needed yard work anyway, right?
The best solar installers will give you full analysis of your situation and let you know how much energy can be drawn with considerations such as obstructions and orientations. They will also provide you with the best designs that will give you maximum output.