As more and more people contemplate switching to solar energy, it is vital to answer all the burning questions about solar systems in general. Since solar panels require direct sunlight to work most effectively, people have started asking: “Is there a backup power source on cloudy days?”
So, can solar panels even work on cloudy days? And where can you get the energy you need to power your home on days like those? Keep reading to find out.
Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?
Most people believe that solar panels cannot work on cloudy and rainy days when the sun is more or less obscured by clouds. Thinking so does make sense to some extent, as sunlight is the main factor the panels need to make electricity.
However, your panels can indeed produce energy even on cloudy days. The only difference is, they will not produce the same amount of energy as usual. Since the sun will not hit the panels directly, they will not have as much to work with. Still, they will function.
No matter how heavy the cloud coverage is, a certain amount of sunlight will always make its way through to the panels. What’s more, some sun rays might even be reflected in drops of rain if there’s any, which ensures even more sunlight for your panels to convert into electricity.
Still, it is important that you have enough energy for cloudy days. No matter how good the panels work, it could still happen that you need more energy than they can make. In such cases, net metering can be a true life-saver.
What Is Net Metering?
Net metering is a type of billing mechanism that allows you to save any excess energy your panels create for later use.
On hot and sunny days, when the sky is clear, your panels will generate more energy than you can possibly spend. Usually, anything you don’t spend is sent back into the grid, and there is no way for you to use it or have it back.
But things are different if you have a good net metering policy. That would allow you to save the energy you don’t spend and use it on cloudy days when your panels can’t make as much energy as you need. The energy would be stored in solar batteries attached to your home.
Net metering is also great for night time. When the sun sets and the temperature drops, you will need more heat and electricity for your home. Thanks to net metering, you get to use the energy your panels made during the day at night.
That way, you won’t have to have any backup sources of energy that will drain your budget. Your panels will have you covered, no matter the weather or time of day.
Net Metering Deals
Depending on your needs, you can get a monthly or annual net metering deal.
A monthly deal allows you to use the energy your panels created on a particularly sunny day later on in the month when it rains. Annual net metering preserves your energy for even longer. With such a plan, you can use electricity from July in, for example, December.
If you live in an area that has mild autumns and winters, you’ll be good with a monthly plan. But in places with harsh winters, you need to save up every bit of energy you can. So, an annual plan is a better choice in cases like that.
As you have read, your solar panels can produce energy even on cloudy days. However, to be extra safe, you can get a net metering deal. Such a plan will ensure you have enough electricity to power your home all year round. That is the best backup power source you can get.