Blog about solar energy

How solar panels perform when the sky darkens part 2

How solar panels perform when the sky darkens part 2
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As promised, we publish the second part of the article 'How solar panels perform when the sky darkens'.

Solar power has emerged as a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to traditional energy sources, capturing the attention of environmentally conscious individuals and businesses alike. While the association between solar energy and sunny weather is common, it's crucial to understand that solar panels can still thrive in cloudy conditions. Here are three key facts to debunk the myth that solar panels are ineffective in less-than-ideal weather conditions.

1. Geographic Location Matters More Than Weather

Contrary to popular belief, solar panels can work efficiently in areas with typically cloudy and cold climates. Cities like New York, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Boston, and Seattle, known for their inclement weather ranging from rain and fog to blizzards, top the list of U.S. cities with the highest solar savings. The determining factor in the cost-effectiveness of solar installations is not the number of cloudy or cold days but the cost of electricity. In places like New York and San Francisco, where electricity costs are high, solar installation becomes a worthwhile investment for both homeowners and businesses.

2. Solar Thrives in Sunny and Cold Conditions

Solar panels do not require hot weather to generate electricity. In fact, they perform optimally in locations that are sunny and cold. Interestingly, when solar panels exceed approximately 77 degrees Fahrenheit, their efficiency tends to decrease. This does not mean that solar panels cannot operate efficiently in traditionally hot places like Phoenix, which ranks sixth among U.S. cities with the highest solar savings. Once again, the primary consideration is the cost of electricity, not the prevailing weather conditions.

3. Shading Doesn't Halt Solar Energy Production

Partial shading, whether caused by natural elements or external sources, can reduce the amount of solar energy produced by a system. However, modern solar systems are designed to mitigate the impact of shading on energy production. If, for example, 20 percent of the solar panels are shaded by a tree limb, only 20 percent of the system's energy production is temporarily affected. Qualified solar panel installers understand how to design systems to minimize shading issues, making it essential to work with reputable professionals. 

As evidenced by Germany's significant contribution to global solar power output, which stands at about 25 percent, solar energy is not exclusively dependent on abundant sunlight. The key lies in understanding that going solar is a strategic move to save on energy costs and contribute to a sustainable future, irrespective of the prevailing weather conditions. So, the next time a cloudy day looms overhead, don't let it overshadow the potential benefits of switching to solar power – it's about the long-term investment in both your finances and the environment.

Based on: us.sunpower.com
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