A frequent query we get is “Can solar panels generate electricity at night” which when we answer “no they do not” lead to further questions about how a home continues to run at night if a solar power system is installed.
As a solar homeowner, you will have two options to obtain electricity in the evening when your solar panels are no longer generating electricity.
Option 1- Pull Energy From The Electricity Grid
Pulling energy from the electricity grid is the most common way to continue to run your household appliances at night. To be able to do this your solar power system needs to be grid-connected. Being grid-connected will mean your household will start pulling electricity from the grid anytime your solar panels are not generating enough energy. No manual action will be required for this to occur as the solar installer will set-up the solar power system so this is automatic.
Unfortunately, as you are relying on the electricity grid for this energy you will be charged the energy retailer rates for this night-time electricity.
Option 2- Solar Battery Storage
As technology advances and prices decrease battery storage will become more common for solar homeowners. Having solar battery storage gives a solar power system the ability to store any excess energy it has generated during the day to use at night. Without solar battery storage, this excess energy is fed to the electricity grid.
If a household is completely off-grid they will require solar battery storage however grid-connected solar power systems have the ability to add battery storage if the solar homeowner would like to have less reliance on the grid without completely disconnecting.
How Does Solar Battery Storage Work?
When solar panels convert sunlight into electricity during the day this electricity is used to power a household. Any excess energy produced is then stored in the battery. When the sun goes down and the solar panels stop generating energy a household will then start using the stored electricity. If not enough energy is stored to power the house completely as a third source of electricity the house can pull energy from the grid.
Even without the addition of solar battery storage, solar homeowners can reduce electricity bills greatly, saving up to 80% on electricity per year. In anticipation of wanting a battery when prices come down in the future those interested in solar can install hybrid solar systems without battery which will give them the ability to add a battery in future.