Many people believe cloudy skies result in less solar energy produced due to the lack of sunlight. Fortunately, that could be further from the truth.
In many of the world’s cloudiest cities, it is clear that their residents are producing an ample amount of solar power. For example, Germany has become a global leader in solar by generating about 7.5% of their net electricity consumption, despite receiving as much sun each year as Alaska does. The United Kingdom recently experienced a six-month period wherein solar panels produced more electricity than the country’s coal plants, even though it is notorious for gloomy weather. In the United States, solar power is being used in parts of the country that are not known as “sunny” cities – such as Los Angeles and Phoenix – but also in Boston and San Francisco.
How Solar Still Works in Cloudy Climates
Despite a cloudy or overcast sky, some usable sunlight is penetrating through. You must understand that there are three main types of sunlight that your solar panels can convert to electricity: direct sunlight, diffuse sunlight, and reflected sunlight.
Direct sunlight is the most powerful, straightforward fuel for solar panels since it arrives in a direct line from the sun. On the other hand, solar panels can use diffuse sunlight, which is sunlight that is scattered – due to clouds and haze – before reaching your panels. Reflected sunlight comes from buildings or the ground before reaching your roof.
While diffuse sunlight is less intense compared to the direct type, it can still be converted into electricity. For example, a solar panel may still produce around 20% of its maximum capacity during an overcast day. While it is not ideal, it is not pointless either.
However, there are some instances where a cloudier climate can produce more solar power compared to a sunnier city. Foggy San Francisco produces slightly more energy per year than brighter Sacramento due to the Bay Area’s cooler climate since solar panels operate more efficiently in colder conditions.
So if you are living in a city that mostly experiences overcast skies, it should not deter you from obtaining clean and affordable energy for your home.
If you are interested in conserving energy and cut down on electrical costs in your Fresno, CA home, contact SunPower by Quality Home Services for a free estimate today. We offer 25-year total product warranty on our panels, so do not hesitate to learn more information.