How Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days

A common concern for those considering solar energy is if solar panels can produce energy on cloudy days. The answer is, yes! Solar panels can still generate power even when it’s overcast – which is important for those of us who deal with the often-overcast Michigan winters! Below, we dive into how solar panels keep producing electricity when the sun’s not shining directly and explain what affects their efficiency.

Understanding Solar Panels on Cloudy Days

Solar panels consist of an array of solar cells, predominantly composed of silicon. These cells depend on photons—particles of light—to agitate electrons, which then creates an electrical current. On days when there is a lot of sunshine, more photons stimulate electrons, resulting in greater energy production. Cloudy skies don’t halt this process, they just slow it down as fewer photons reach the cells.

Determinants of Cloudy Weather Performance

Solar panel efficiency during cloudy conditions is subject to various factors:

  • Nature of the Cloud Cover: Thick, dense clouds diminish sunlight more severely than lighter, scattered clouds, impacting solar panel output.
  • Installation Angles: Correctly angled panels can capture more available sunlight, a critical consideration our solar experts evaluate during home assessments to assure peak panel productivity.
  • Solar Technology Caliber: Superior panels equipped with cutting-edge cell technology, like ones we install, can harvest more light in low-luminosity situations. Our panels, engineered with weather resilience, maintain high performance even when the skies are gray.

The Role of Energy Storage

A great option to consider if you’re going solar is to explore backup energy storage options. Solar batteries store surplus energy when your panels produce excess energy. This stored energy is readily available on overcast days. Consequently, they amplify both the dependability and self-sufficiency of your sustainable energy solution, regardless of weather patterns.


Solar panels have a lower output on cloudy days, yet they continue to offer substantial eco-friendly and cost-saving advantages. Solar investment is an excellent choice for homeowners aiming to cut energy expenses and take part in championing sustainability, even in places like Michigan, where weather can be unpredictable! Adding a battery to your solar system helps ensure you have clean energy to use when your panel production is low. 

Interested to learn more? Contact us to set up a site visit and see how solar and solar batteries might work for you – no matter the weather! 

Get Started with Oak Electric Today

Whether you need service for your HVAC system, generator, or any other solar or electrical system, Oak Electric is here to help!

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