Solar Panels Do Not Need Direct Sunlight To Work
Even though maximum efficiency is reached when the sun is shining, electricity is still produced on cloudy days and during winter. On the other hand, no electricity can be produced at night, but a storage system can solve this problem. The solar battery storage system cost can be paid off by selling excess energy to national grid and by the benefit of making you 100% energy independent. You should still consider that solar panels produce free electricity during the day, which is when it is more expensive and hence more valuable.
The Time To Go Solar Is Now
While solar panels and battery storage can be a significant investment, solar companies like Sunrun offer flexible financing options and solar plans for as little as $0 down. While solar panels cant change the weather, they can help you ride it out.
Every winter day is a chance to power through life from the sun. Start taking control of your own energy and keep powered through extreme weather conditions. Get in touch with one of our expert Solar Advisors today.
Things You Should Know About Solar Panels
Green energy is gaining popularity at a fast rate, and solar is one of the best eco-friendly options for homeowners. A solar panel is a group of electrically connected solar cells, enclosed in a frame, which converts sunlight into electricity. Switching to solar energy has many advantages, allowing you to save money while helping the environment, and may have a few limitations connected to the position of your house and weather conditions. Lets go more into detail with ten basic facts about solar panels:
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Solar Panels Are Designed And Made Up Of Six Main Components
Usually made of aluminum, the frame provides structural rigidity and protects the unit from outside elements.
Protects the top of the panel and allows it to receive optimal sunlight.
Binds the components of the panel together and protects it from dirt, water, or anything else from damaging the cells.
Engines that convert sunlight into electricity.
Back part of the unit that protects against water and dirt.
Transfers the electricity produced by the unit.
At the very bottom of the panel are the junction and connector wires. These are responsible for transmitting the solar energy produced by the panel to a powered device or battery.
Above these wires are the solar cells, which are comprised of purified silicon. In order to increase the number of electrons within these silicon cells, solar panel manufacturers may add additional elements to a cell, such as phosphorus and boron to balance out the positive and negative charges for a better electric output.
There are several pieces of specially formulated glass between the cells and the surface of the solar panel. These prevent impurities, such as water or dirt, from reaching the cells. Glass is also highly reflective and excellent for conducting lots of UV rays directly into the solar cells.
How To Tell If Your Property Is Shaded
Shading is dynamic and changes throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky. This can make calculating the number of peak sun hours tricky unless you have the correct tools.
There are some free, online tools that can give you a rough estimate of how much sunlight your property receives, like Googles Project Sunroof.
You can also try calculating shade with the 1-3 rule.
With this method, youll multiply the height of the tree or object that produces shade by three. This will give you the length of the objects shadow, which is how far away from the object youll want to install your system.
The best way to determine whether or not your house gets enough sun for solar panels is to have a solar installer come out and evaluate your property.
Using a tool called a solar pathfinder, theyll determine how much shade your roof or plot of land receives throughout the day. This tool reveals any shading that may occur throughout the year at any time of day.
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How Much Direct Sunlight Do Solar Panels Need
Whakatane, Richmond, New Plymouth, Rotorua, Napier – these are the top five sunniest places in New Zealand, according to research from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research. You might think that, of all the places in Aotearoa, these are the places that are best suited for solar power.
But the amount of direct sunlight in a given area doesnât tell the full story about the viability of solar for a given home or business. Letâs look at whatâs missing.
Place Your Solar Panels The Correct Way
To get the best out of your solar panels, you must position them correctly.
The general consensus says persons north of the equator should lay their panels to the south. And a recent study showed that a west-facing solar power setup is also an optimum position. The panels must also be at the correct angle. A 45 to 50-degree angle is best.
In those positions, solar panels are in the best place to receive year-round sunlight.
So what happens if your property is not ideal for the west or south-facing solar panel set up?
Lets find out.
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Can You Charge Solar Lights In The Winter
There is light even in the winter, allowing you to charge your solar lights. However, like powering up the solar panels in the shade, on cloudy days, or with artificial light, it would be unwise to expect an efficiency similar to direct sunlight in the summer.
Two issues confront solar light owners in the winter. First, snow can cover the solar panel and obstruct sunlight from reaching the panels surface. Second, daylight hours are shorter in winter than in the summer, translating to more frequent and longer shadows.
It would be wise to clean the solar panels at least every three to four hours to prevent snow accumulation. It will also help to reposition the solar panels more frequently to avoid the shadows.
Do Outdoor Solar Lights Work In Extreme Weather
As a general rule of thumb, solar lights can be used all-year round in various temperatures.
While many people note that their solar lights may not work as well in the winter, this is likely more attributable to the cloud cover than it is to the freezing cold. In fact, some solar lights may actually work better in the cold than in other types of weather, as they function more efficiently in cold weather than in hot weather.
While there is no set temperature that you should bring your lights inside for, you should keep a watch on other elements of extreme weather, both hot and cold. For example, high-speed winds might knock them over, or large amounts of snow could cover them up, greatly reducing their ability to effectively perform at a high brightness level.
If you do decide to bring your lights in to store during such times, make sure that they are in the off position and stored in a dark place.
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Can A Light Bulb Charge A Solar Panel
Solar light has several essential components: a solar panel, a lighting fixture, a solar battery, and a circuit board. The solar panel contains the photovoltaic cells we discussed above, allowing the solar light to gather as many photons as possible for conversion into electricity.
The solar panel gathers and generates electricity, which the circuit board stores into the battery. When there is no light, a switch in the circuit board automatically sends electricity from the battery to the lighting fixture.
Hence, any light source can provide photons to the solar panel, making it possible to charge a solar panel with an LED light, incandescent bulb, compact fluorescent light, halogen bulb, or any other light source.
However, I would like to reiterate that using these light sources is less efficient than direct sunlight. You will need batteries or electricity to power on an ordinary light bulb.
There is also the issue of light waves. The sun produces various light waves, including ultraviolet light and visible light. Unfortunately, not all lighting fixtures can match the suns expansive light waves. You can try UV light, but heat and radiation will be principal concerns.
If you need to charge your solar light using an ordinary bulb, it would be best to place the solar light directly under the artificial light source. The distance should be as close to the solar light as possible , and the exposure time should be as long as possible.
Do Solar Lights Need Direct Sunlight To Work
So, many of us are planning to use solar energy for the lightbulbs. The question is, do solar lights need direct sunlight? While the answer might be obvious, a closer examination of solar-powered systems will reveal things many of us fail to appreciate. As it turns out, you can power up any solar device with other light sources not only the sun.
Join me in this article to understand solar light systems and appreciate how we can optimize these lighting fixtures, even without direct sunlight.
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You Need How Many Hours Of Sunlight For Solar Panels
In the best-case scenario, youll want your solar panels to receive about four or five hours of direct sunlight. Specifically, that sunlight should reach your panels between 10 am and 3 pm.
This is when the sun is in its highest position and the rays are the most direct. If there are sources of shading on your property that block the sun from your panels during those hours, you may want to see what you can do to decrease the shade before installing solar panels. Your installation company will be able to help identify these obstructions.
Do Solar Panels Work Without Sunlight Or At Night
The answer to the first question is yes solar panels can work without direct sunlight.
The matter of fact is solar panels use daylight energy to produce electricity, and they do not need direct sunlight to work. A surprising answer, isnt it?
Well, the reason is that the photons in natural daylight get converted into electricity by solar panels. That is why the heat from the Sun does not entirely affect the production of electricity.
Generally, solar panels comprise materials like silicon, which creates an electric current when it comes in contact with natural daylight. Then this current is used as standard electricity within properties.
Then what about the night? Do solar panels work at night when there is no natural daylight?
The answer to this question is yes as well.
It is possible in two ways the first one is net metering and the second is solar storage technology that allows solar panels to access electricity at night when solar panels are in a relatively passive state.
During the dormant state of solar electricity production, panels can be connected to the electric grid or a battery. As a result, solar panels provide a sustainable 24×7 energy solution.
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How Much Sunlight Do Solar Panels Need
One of the biggest concerns that most people have with installing solar panels on their home or property is the idea that they might not be able to get enough sunlight to power their electrical systems throughout the year. Whether your property is grid-tied or off-grid, it is important to know how much sunlight solar panels need in order to discern if they are a worthwhile investment for your home. The team at BNR Electric has a wealth of experience and knowledge about solar energy and how it can be used to power your home, and we are always happy to help clients get set up with the system that they need to get the most out of the sunlight in their area.
Why Is Using The Suns Light To Generate Electricity More Efficient
As you can see, there are two ways that solar panels can work, with the PV solar panel option coming in as more reliable and effective. Using the suns light energy to create electricity is more effective as the infrared and ultraviolet light that is not visible to the human eye can be utilized too.
Light can also be optimized in different ways. For example, each home installation should be different so that the panels can be well-orientated to get the most sunlight. Even in snow and freezing cold weather, solar panels that use heat will produce good amounts of electricity if theres enough sunlight.
Conversely, the heat from the sun cannot be optimized in such an effective way. This means that it relies heavily on how warm the temperature is, which is less reliable. Another issue with heat-led solar panels is that higher temperatures increase the electrical resistance of the circuits, meaning that they have to work harder to produce the same amount of electricity.
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How Shade Affects Solar Panel Production
Although the similar, shade is different from indirect sunlight related to solar panels overall production and performance. Both will lessen how much electricity the solar panels provide, although this is further decreased in the shade. The shade that is provided from trees above, for instance, will not be able to provide even indirect sunlight. Remember the example above we cant get a sunburn when we are sitting in the shade outside.
Even during indirect sunlight, the photons from the sun can penetrate through clouds to shine on the solar panels. There will be far less solar absorption if the solar panels are covered in the shade, which translates to less electricity produced. To simplify it further, as you know, there is no solar production when the sun has set. Think of this time of the day as when the region is covered in the shade. If your solar panels are covered in the shade during the day, they will not be able to absorb the needed photons from the sun.
We hope that this article was helpful and that you can take away the information you were looking for. Solar panels are a great source of alternative energy and can function well in most weather conditions. If you are considering purchasing solar panels and are concerned about them working well during indirect sunlight, this should help alleviate your fears. They are sound investments that offer many benefits for clean energy and help lower your annual energy costs.
Solar Panel Performance In Winter
I must mention again that solar panels do not depend on direct contact with sunlight to work. They run because of the energy they get from sunlight. So, on a sunny day in winter, with adequate peak hours of sunshine, the panels will work the same way they would on a sunny day in summer.
In fact, cooler to cold temperatures is better for your solar panels than extreme heat. The best temperature for solar cells is between 59 degrees and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. 77 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal.
In temperatures higher than 95 degrees fahrenheit, solar cells will begin to lose efficiency.
Will Snow Affect Solar Panel Output?
When it snows, solar panels will still produce energy. But heavy snowfall could be a potential problem.
Layers of snow covering the panels can limit the amount of sunlight that reaches the cells. But an occurrence like this is rare. Thats because solar panels are set up at an angle. With their smooth, slick, warm surface, the snow should slip right off.
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How Are Solar Peak Hours Calculated
A solar peak hour is the amount of time in which the intensity of the solar irradiance reaches an average of 1,000 watts of energy per square meter.
Simply put, its calculated as follows: One solar peak hour is equal to 1000 W/m² of sunlight per hour.
Solar installers use this value to estimate the power output of solar panel arrays, often using a US average value of 4 peak-sun-hours.
Irradiance values can be taken from historical data tables such as those found on websites such as Global Solar Info see image below:
Daily peak-sun-hours is the same as irradiance value in kWh/m2/day
Solar Panels And Cold Weather States
Based on research across winter locations, solar is a proven economic energy solution in northern climates.12 Massachusetts and New Jersey were in the top ten states with solar installations in 2018.13 In 2019, the Solar Energy Industries Association ranked New York in the top ten states for solar installations.14 Solar panels are even used in Alaska and U.S. facilities like McMurdo Station in Antarctica.15
Your home doesnt need to be in California, Arizona, or Florida to make the most out of solar. Solar panels clearly and consistently demonstrate that they can generate electricity in snow and extremely cold climates.
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How Much Sunlight Should The Panels Receive
The amount of energy in sunlight that a solar PV panel receives over a day is expressed in peak sun hours. As the amount of energy generated by a panel is directly proportional to the amount of energy it receives from sunlight, it is important to install panels so they receive good exposure to direct sunlight.
Your accredited solar system designer/installer will calculate the amount of energy generated by the solar PV panel from the peak sun hours available. This means your installer should be able to tell you how many kW/h your chosen solar system will generate in your particular installation situation. Ask for this estimation in writing before the installation. Peak sun hours vary throughout the year. Try our output calculator.