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Will I Generate Power In Cloudy Weather?


Yes, solar panels do produce electricity in cloudy weather. They don’t produce as much electricity as they do on sunny days, but they have been shown to produce 25% of what they produce on a sunny day, or 10% when it’s very cloudy.


You can still get sunburned even in cloudy weather, especially if your bald like me. Even thought clouds block direct sunlight, rays still penetrate the clouds and this is what burns us and also what we need to generate power with solar panels.

To keep it simple solar panels only need daylight, not direct sunlight. So if you can see outside without artificial lights such as street lights, then there is enough natural light to be absorb by your solar panel.


Cloudy weather can have far less of an impact on solar panel efficiency than many people think. The American cities of New York and Seattle, for example, are amongst the top US cities for solar panel savings. Similarly, Germany accounts for about 25% of the world’s solar power, while being simultaneously famous for its lack of sunlight. Nevertheless, it achieved its strongest growth output in about half a decade last year.


So, how does that work for them with less-than-optimal weather? Basically, it’s because it’s the local cost of electricity, and not the amount of cloud cover, that influences the scale of the savings that people and businesses are able to make with solar panel installations.


Interestingly, although they work better on sunny versus cloudy days, solar panels don't work best in particularly hot climates. In fact, solar panel output begins to fall if the temperature rises above 25 degrees Celsius.

There’s even a phenomenon in which cloudy weather can actually lead to increased output of solar panels, compared to a bright and cloudless day. This is called the Edge of Cloud effect. Essentially, sunlight can get magnified through refraction, just when the sun is emerging from (or being hidden behind) a bank of clouds. This leads to a sudden burst of energy, which can lead to a temporary but dramatic increase in output.


Either way, solar panels can generate in cloudy and clear days and are a great investment even here in the UK!