What happens with my solar system at night or in non-sunny conditions?

The uptake of solar panels across Australia has been immense. As of July 2021, over 2.8 million small-scale solar power systems have been installed with around 30% of homes having rooftop photovoltaic (PV).


Even though so many installations have been performed, questions still remain about how they work, whether they produce electricity in cloudy weather, and what can be done to maximise the usage of the solar system when it gets dark.


We will provide answers to those questions, offering insight into the PV technology below.


How do solar panels work?


The sun creates photons during nuclear fusion within its core which is then ejected towards the earth. These photons are molecular particles of light and energy. When these photons hit an object, the object is likely to absorb energy from the photon, this can cause the object to heat up. Solar panels take this type of energy and use it to power appliances, this conversion is called the photovoltaic effect.


When the solar panels are hit by light, this energy is converted into direct current (DC), this power gets delivered through the circuit and into the solar system’s inverter. Inside, the current gets converted into alternating current (AC). AC is important as it is what many households use to power appliances.


Energy from the solar panels is either sent to your home’s appliances to keep them running, sent to the grid, or sent to a home battery storage system for later use.


Are solar panels effective in cloudy weather?


Yes, solar panels will keep working in cloudy weather albeit with reduced efficacy. As a general guide, solar panels under cloud cover produce around 25% to 45% of their normal power output, depending on cloud thickness. Ironically, solar panels work best when it is sunny but not too hot, as temperatures over 25 degrees Celsius can also decrease the solar energy output. The efficiency decrease is more significant with cheaper brands, which is why we recommend higher quality products such as the LG solar panels which will lead to better performance over its lifetime.


What happens to my solar panels at night?


Unfortunately, without the sun, solar panels do not operate as there is no light to generate energy. Because there is no generation of renewable energy at night from solar panels, many customers opt to store the energy during the day for usage at night with the use of a home battery storage device.


Solar battery storage


Solar panels are very efficient in generating energy and many households generate surplus energy throughout the day. This extra energy can be stored in a home battery such as an LG RESU.


Households which have a solar battery will be able to tap into this storage device to power their home at night and even during power outages. Some homes even choose to go completely off-grid, relying solely on solar energy generation and storage for their power supply, making them energy independent.


If you are interested in hearing more about solar energy for your home and receiving a quote for an LG RESU or an LG RESU HOME, head on over to our quote form and one of our certified installers will get in touch shortly.