Do solar panels work in the shade and with bad weather?

Published: 6 July 2021

Solar panels depend on sunlight to produce electricity, which means their productivity can be affected by shade and cloudy weather. However, shading issues can be avoided by placing your solar panels carefully.

Solar panels generate electricity with a resource that reaches your rooftop for free – sunlight. This is a great advantage compared with a diesel generator, for example, which depends on fuel deliveries to keep working. Since they depend on sunlight, solar panels are much less productive in the shade, and also when the weather is cloudy. However, shade can be avoided by selecting a suitable area for the panels, and bad weather is only an issue on certain days.

Australia is a very sunny country, and this means each solar panel produces more electricity throughout the year. When you use high-quality panels and your system is delivered by an experienced installer like Instyle Solar, shading and bad weather are not a problem.

How to prevent shading on solar panels

Shade can be caused by natural obstacles like trees and hills, and also by buildings and other structures. Also, shade doesn’t stay in a fixed position and is constantly moving, since it depends on the sun’s position in the sky. Solar installers analyse the shading on each roof to determine the ideal position for solar panels.

Avoiding shadows is very important to keep your solar panels productive. A panel that is constantly in the shade will produce less kilowatt-hours over time, which also means it contributes less to your power bill savings.

  • Solar panels are divided into individual solar cells, which are connected together in an electric circuit. When one of the cells is covered by a concentrated shadow, the entire panel becomes less productive, even if other cells are getting sunlight.
  • The same applies for groups of solar panels that are wired together: if one of them is affected by shadows, all panels in the same circuit will suffer a productivity drop.

The effect of shading on solar panels can be compared with closing a valve. A heavily shaded solar cell will affect the other cells in the panel, and a heavily shaded panel will affect others that are connected to the same circuit. To reduce the effect of shadows, the best recommendation is getting your solar power system designed and installed by professionals. When the layout and individual locations of your solar panels are selected carefully, the effect of shading can be avoided.

Unless your roof is covered by shadow all day long, you can normally achieve excellent results with quality solar panels. They have a typical service life of more than 25 years, while their payback period is normally less than 5 years in Australia.

Does bad weather affect solar panels?

Solar panels from quality brands are designed for all types of extreme weather – this includes rain, snow and strong winds. Actually, solar panel design has improved so much that now they can even withstand most hailstorms. It is important to consider that the electricity production of solar panels is reduced drastically with cloudy weather, since they depend on sunlight. However, they will generate power again as soon as the sky clears.

  • Modern solar panels have a dust-proof, watertight and corrosion-proof design.
  • Solar manufacturers are aware that their panels will be operating on roofs for several decades, exposed to the weather, and they are designed for that purpose.
  • The best solar panel brands have a 10-12 year warranty against manufacturing defects, and a 25-30 warranty for electricity production.

Solar panels are not damaged by snow accumulation. Their electricity production stops when sunlight cannot reach the solar cells due to a blanket of snow, but the panels are not damaged permanently. Snow that accumulates on solar panels is often removed by the wind, or it simply melts off. When solar panels are installed on roofs with higher slopes, then snow will tend to slide off before it has a chance to accumulate.

Strong winds can be a problem when solar panels are not attached firmly to a roof. However, this is not an issue when you get a professional installation.

Conclusion

Solar panels depend on sunlight to produce electricity, which means their productivity is affected by shades and cloudy weather. However, shading issues can be avoided by placing your solar panels carefully, and bad weather is only temporary. Solar panels have a weatherproof design, and they can operate for decades without being damaged by rain, snow or wind. Also, you don’t have to worry about the wind if your panels are installed by a qualified provider like Instyle Solar.

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