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Collier's Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

How Do Solar Panels Work at Night and on Cloudy Days?


Concern about cloudy and overcast days—not to mention nighttime—cutting into the power of solar panels is one of the biggest reasons why potential customers for solar energy systems sometimes back away from the purchase. Solar panels aren’t necessarily new technology, but their residential use is new to many, and so people are often unfamiliar with how these panels work. These misunderstandings often mean that homes that would benefit tremendously from them don’t end up getting them.

We’d like to shed some light on this “cloudy/night” misunderstanding and help you better see how solar panel installation can help your home. To find out more about solar energy systems in Warsaw, IN or to schedule solar panel installation, just reach out to Collier’s.

Why Solar Panels Still Work at Night or on Overcast Days

The confusion that leads to believing solar panels will be ineffective when its overcast is that people think that it’s the heat from the sun that creates the energy in the panels. But solar panel operation actually has nothing to do with the radiant heat from the sun. Solar panels react to the light of the sun. These are photovoltaic panels that are agitated by exposure to light. The agitation becomes a direct electric current, which a transformer then changes into alternating current that can be used by an air conditioner, attic fan, water heater, indoor lights, or other electrical system in a home.

So the solar panels only need light to work—and they can get light when its cloudy outside. In fact, during the winter snow can help increase the amount of light that shines onto the panels thanks to its reflectiveness.

Here’s a fact to keep in mind: the country that produces the most solar energy is Germany, and Germany receives less sunlight per year than any part of the continental United States. If Germany can have productive solar panels in their climate, then so can Indiana!

What about night? Not much light then, except from the moon—and it’s not always in the sky. It’s true that a solar panel won’t generate much energy during night. But this isn’t a problem, because solar energy systems are designed with batteries to store excess power from the day. The battery takes over during the evenings, or at any other time when there’s insufficient energy coming from the panels.

Your Local Solar Energy Experts

We’ve been in business in Northern Indiana for more than three decades, and we adopted solar power early on as one of our services. We’ve seen the many advances in the technology and we help both homes and businesses harness the inexpensive power of the sun. (Remember, energy from the sun is free!) We know how well solar panels can work in the region, and when you work with us, we’ll ensure that you have the panel array that will do the job you need from it.

Get started with solar power today. For over 30 years, The Company You’ve Grown to Trust: Collier’s Heating & Air Conditioning.

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