Sunshine on a cloudy day | How solar panels work in cloudy weather

As solar power, battery storage and renewable energy targets continue their upward trajectory, there are still a lot of misconceptions surrounding solar panels and solar systems.

Back in July, we addressed 6 popular solar myths. We’re going to delve a bit deeper into one of those 6 myths: Solar power only works on sunny days.

Aussie Aussie Aussie

Australia is definitely the land of sunshine, but still, we still experience cloudy and cold days, especially in winter [hello Melbourne]. This simple fact is this is what’s concerning so many Australians who have yet to invest in solar.

Let’s break it down. Solar panels basically absorb light, in the form of photons, direct from the sun. The panel itself, which is comprised of small photovoltaic [PV] cells made from silicon and conductors, convert that light that it absorbs in electricity. That electricity is then pushed into the inverter, via cables and wires.

Sunny and clear days will obviously provide the most photons, allowing the solar panels to produce the most electricity.

However, even on cloudy and overcast days, the diffused light will still reach the panels, allowing the production of up to 25% of the energy produced a clear day. A day that presents a light cloud cover, could produce up to 50% for you.

Even with our not so sunny and sometimes gloomy days here in Australia, we still do have the capacity to create more electricity through solar means, than we can actually use.

So, why wouldn’t we?

The Euro Factor

The European Union is aiming for 20% of their gross final energy consumption to be sourced from renewable energies by 2020. That’s a lofty goal for a union that includes Germany, Scandinavia and Great Britain [for now], as these are not countries known for their endless supply of sunny and clear days.

It’s quite the opposite really.

In fact, of the membered states, Croatia and Bulgaria have already surpassed their targets for 2020, with Latvia, Finland and Austria reporting that more than 30% of their final energy consumption is from renewables.

How solar works

Do the math

Now that you have a clearer idea of how solar PV panels work and that they actually still do produce electricity on not so sunny days, why not investigate how much you could save by investing in a solar system for your home or business?

Check out our Solar Savings Calculator for a general idea of what size system would best suits your home or business, along with what you could save over the next five, ten or twenty years.

Rain or shine, solar makes sense.

 

Download Your FREE Beginner’s Guide To Solar Power!

Beginners Guide to Solar Power

If you’re considering solar for your property or just looking to maximise the savings for your solar system, download a FREE copy of our "Beginner’s Guide To Solar Power".

Become an expert and better understand the ins and outs of solar power and solar PV systems for your property.

Includes detailed explanations and diagrams of the various types of solar systems and their parts, solar battery storage systems, Government incentives, expected ROI periods, finance, energy saving tips and more!

Download Your Free Copy Now!

Latest blog & information

X

Please provide your email address so that we can send your free copy of "Beginner’s Guide To Solar Power".

Yes please, I would like to receive updates from Solar Market. Click to view our Privacy Policy.

Thank you

We have emailed your copy of "Beginner’s Guide To Solar Power".

If your guide does not appear in your inbox ensure that you have provided the correct email address or check your junk/spam folder.

This message will close in 10 seconds or

Close and back to page
X

Understanding Batteries

Off-Grid Systems

For some households a battery system can be of great benefit and minimise a home’s reliance on the grid. However, it’s important to understand for a battery to be useful your solar system needs to be generating excess energy for the battery to store, which you can then use at night or when the sun is not out.

When selecting a battery, you’ll want to invest in a system that is most suited to your home and can drive the best return on investment (ROI). Despite a larger upfront cost, a higher quality battery may significantly increase your ROI.

    Battery systems start from $6,000 and costs can vary greatly based on the following factors:

  1. Cycle Life-Time

    The number of times a battery can fully charge and discharge.

  2. Battery Power (kW)

    How fast it can be charged or discharged.

  3. Storage Capacity (kWh)

    The maximum amount of energy a battery system can store.

  4. Battery Management System (BMS)

    An electronic ‘smart’ system that gathers data and manages the battery ensuring it does not overload or operate outside of its safe functioning zone..

  5. Inverter

    Battery systems require their own inverter if your solar system does not have a hybrid inverter.

  6. 'All-In-One Unit’

    A system which includes the battery, BMS and an inverter all in one unit.

  7. Warranty

    Length of time or cycles the battery system is under guarantee.

  8. Blackout Protection/Backup

    It’s important to note this is not a common feature of a battery system and could cost thousands of dollars to include. Blackout protection not only requires additional components but also a specialised installation and rewiring. For grid-connected homes, the cost for blackout protection can outweigh the benefit.

Additionally, if your purpose for adding battery is to go Off-Grid and become completely independent from the grid you will need to ensure your solar system can generate enough energy to power your home and your battery system is large enough to store this energy. For homes in metro areas going Off-grid is not cost effective and is only recommended for those in remote areas with limited access to the grid. Off-grid solar systems with battery start at approximately $30,000.