Did you know the first amorphous silicon photovoltaic panels came out in 1976? At this time, the energy conversion rate was 1.1%! After 20 years, a company in Switzerland produced a conversion rate of 11% using a photo-electrochemical process (a process that usually involves transforming light into other forms of energy). Nowadays, the average conversion rate of most solar panels is around 15-23%! However, in Australia at the University of South Wales, researchers used a prism to get more energy from the sun and as a result, reached a record in 2016 with an almost 36% conversion rate. 

It’s not surprising that photovoltaic solar panels are getting more successful at converting the sun’s energy into electricity all while their prices continue to decrease. Most folks are finally able to afford and invest in going solars not only for their residential houses but also for their businesses (gee haw!). Not only is it renewable energy and less harmful to the environment, but it also reduces your energy bill and allows you to sell back your unused energy to the utility company (we talk more about this in our blog about Net Energy Metering). 

Unfortunately, there’s a multitude of mixed information regarding how efficient solar panels are when the sun isn’t shining at its full potential. What if your roof gets shade? What if the weather is overcast? 

What if my solar panels can’t be installed in direct sunlight?

Truth is, don’t worry so much about this too. Solar panels get their electricity from a lovely little thing called photons. These bad boys are present in natural daylight, rather than from the sun itself. This is why solar panels don’t need direct sunlight to work. The sun’s heat isn’t a factor in how much electricity solar panels generate either, so this means that your panels can essentially be just as productive as they would in chilly weather as hot weather. 

While it’s true that when your panels are in direct sunlight, you will experience optimal results, it is also true that you can experience significant savings using solar energy regardless if your property is a sunny oasis or not. 

Does shade affect PV solar panels?

The shade will have an impact on your panel’s ability to produce electricity, but they will still convert energy, depending on how much shade your property has. 

Some equipment will have a domino effect, where if one panel is lacking in performance, the additional panels will do the same. There are also other designs that compensate for the shaded panel by causing the other panels to counter its lower production. They also make components called microinverters and optimizers, that help where shading is an issue. 

So, while solar panels can definitely cope with the shade, you will receive maximum benefit if they are in direct sunlight.

Do clouds affect solar panels?

The latest solar panels use different concentrators, like mirrors and lenses, to fully maximize any light. As a result, on cloudy days, your panels will still be able to produce electricity. A study by the Department of Energy showed that larger solar panels fluctuated less on cloudy days than smaller panels. So the size of your panels may be something to pay attention to if you’re in a mostly shaded area. 

Did you know that Germany is one of the leading countries in solar energy? They aren’t particularly known for an abundance of sunlight and actually experience a decent amount of cloudy days. This proves that even if you don’t live in the High Desert of California, where sunshine is plenty, that going solar is still very much worth the investment. 


Thinking of going solar?

If you have questions about going solar, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Sun Energy California. We take pride in our ability to provide our customers with the information they need to make the best decisions for their families. We also offer free consultations and estimates. Call 760.545.8466. We look forward to working with you! 

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Did you know?

One wind turbine can produce enough electricity to power up to 300 homes.

Renewable energy is a form of clean energy that is provided by natural sources present in nature.

Solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal power can provide energy without the planet-warming effects of fossil fuels.

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