We all know how solar panels work. A huge fusion reaction occurs at the center of the sun, that flings out massive amounts of radiation and light across the solar system.

Some of that light hits the panels on your roof and is converted into the electricity you need to boil the kettle.

Pretty simple.

You’d generally think the more light hitting your solar panels the more electricity they’re going to produce.

How true is that? What happens to your panel efficiency when the elements are out and sunshine is low? Let’s find out.

Key Points

  • Solar panels are weather dependant
  • Modern panels are getting better at handling low light situations
  • Talk to your installer if you’re concerned about available light

What Happens to Your Solar Panels When the Weather Is No-So-Sunny?

Let’s look at how different conditions impact solar production.

Do Solar Panels Work When it’s Cloudy?

Cloud cover can definitely eat into your solar savings – expect your panels to be generating about 30 – 40% what they would in optimal conditions.

That said, high-quality solar panels are generally better at collecting ambient light, so if you plan your system accordingly and get the right product you can minimise your solar losses to bad weather.

Do Solar Panels Work in the Rain?

Rain is not your friend when you have solar. Expect production between 10 – 25% of what you’d get at your peak from your system when it’s miserable outside.

Rain does have the benefit of clearing any dust that may have settled on your panels and improving their efficiency as a result.

Do Solar Panels Work in Snow?

Obviously this doesn’t apply to many Australians, but if you’re lucky enough to own a house around Thredbo or Mount Hotham then this section might help you out.

When it’s snowing you’ll experience similar drops in output from your solar system as you would when it’s cloudy or raining. 

You’ll also need to be aware of snow building up on your panels. If the panel surface becomes completely covered in snow and ice then you’re going to be getting absolutely nothing out of your system.

If that happens we suggest waiting for the snow to melt! Don’t risk going on the roof and injuring yourself.

Do Solar Panels Work in Fog?

This one bucks the trend a little. A light fog can actually increase the energy output from your panels.

Here’s why.

Solar panel efficiency actually increases at low temperatures.

That means 40 degree scorchers can actually REDUCE your panel efficiency!

Fog has the effect of keeping everything cool without impacting direct and ambient light all that much, meaning you can expect good performance on those foggy days.

The Bottom Line: Understanding the Effectiveness of Solar Power in Cold or Rainy Weather

Long story short, to get the most out of your solar panels you’re generally hoping for a clear, sunny day with mild temperatures. Think shorts and thongs with a long t-shirt kind of weather.

That said, advances in technology and newer solar products make it possible to generate energy even on cloudy days. So long as you’re talking to a qualified installer who knows their trade, you can have peace of mind knowing you’ll be getting a system that works rain or shine.

Ready for Solar?

If you’re thinking of having solar panels installed in your home, it’s best to speak to reputable solar providers. Thankfully, Solar Market is here to help you.

We can connect you to solar providers and installers in your area to provide you obligation-free quotes in a snap so you can get advice and a price you can trust.

Get 3 free quotes today!