Solar panels have increasingly gained popularity in the last decade. Businesses and homeowners are now using solar energy to save money and cut costs on electricity bills around the country. Studies show that by 2019, the number of solar installations in the U.S. had surpassed the 2 million mark, and the number is expected to double by 2023.

Despite its popularity, the most common objection to solar-powered electricity revolves around the lack of sunlight. In this post, we tackle this argument, as well as the questions that go along with it.

So, Do Solar Panels Work at Night?

The straight answer is no. Solar panels need sunlight to generate energy. They absorb light from the sun and convert it to alternating current, which you use to power your home. During the night, solar panels become inactive and stop producing electricity.

How Do Homes With Solar Panels Work at Night?

Even though solar panels do not generate energy at night, it doesn’t mean that your home will lack power. During the day, when the sun is out, solar panels generate extra power, which is stored in backup batteries or fed back to the electric grid.

That stored power is then used at night when there’s no solar energy available to be generated due to that lack of sunlight.

What Happens If a Solar Panel Is Covered by Snow, Dust, or Dirt?

For many California homeowners, snow won’t pose too much of an issue to solar panels. Yet there might be other times where dust or dirt falls on the solar panels of a home. What happens then?

Snow, dust, and dirt may minimize your solar panel’s exposure to sunlight. This means your solar panels may not generate energy as expected. However, snow does not stay on the solar panels for long because professional solar installers design your solar array to make it difficult for snow to hang around. 

Whenever a portion of the array absorbs sunlight, it spreads to other panel parts and melts the snow. As the snow melts, it cleans and removes dust or dirt accumulated on the panels. Excess dust and dirt on your solar panels may lower their efficiency, but it won’t stop them from working altogether.

How Do Solar Panels Work in Climates Where It’s Rainy Often?

Solar panels are popular even in places with rainy climates. This is because they still work even when light is reflected or blocked by clouds. During the sunny hours, when energy production is highest, excess energy is stored or fed back to the utility grid. This way, your home stays powered even when energy production is low. The rain cleans your panels by washing away dirt and dust to improve their efficiency.

What Are Backup Options for Power?

Power backup solutions help you enjoy a constant power supply regardless of daily or seasonal variations in solar panel production levels. The available options include:

Solar Battery Storage

Solar panels are designed to generate more power during the day than you can use. The excess energy is stored in solar batteries to help power your home when there’s a lack of sunlight

Grid Storage or Net Metering

Net metering is the alternative to battery storage. If you don’t have energy storage in your home, the surplus energy from the solar panels is fed back to the utility grid, and the utility awards you credits. Whenever you use power from the grid, you can use the accumulated credits to offset the bill. Net metering gives you the economic value of your excess energy production.

The Bottom Line

The benefits of installing solar panels in your home or business are endless. And working with a solar professional who is well-versed in installing solar panels will help you get the right solution for your premises. 

Ready to install solar panels in your home? Sun Energy California will assess your property and develop the best solar solutions tailored to your needs. Contact us today to get a free quote.

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