It’s easy to understand how solar panels produce energy during the day, but, do solar panels still work when it’s dark outside? The short answer is no but that doesn’t prevent you from using the energy produced during the day by your solar panels, at night.
Let us explain…
Because solar panels require sunlight to generate electricity, they will not work in the dark. However, if you pair your solar energy system with an energy storage system (or battery) you can use the solar power production during the day by your solar panels, at night.
Each solar energy system we install is custom designed for each of our customers’ needs and energy requirements. While some households only wish to offset a fraction of their energy costs, others wish to offset the majority of their energy costs. Nonetheless, we usually do not recommend an off-grid solar energy system or disconnecting from the utility power grid.
Homes and businesses consume a large amount of energy daily. Even with the highest efficiency solar panels, a substantial number of individual panels would still be needed in order to produce enough energy.
This causes the cost of a solar energy array to increase as the number of kWs and panels increase, therefore it can become quite expensive. Additionally, many homeowners don’t have the land or roof space to accommodate the vast amount of panels it would require.
The alternative to an off-grid energy system is a grid-tied solar energy system. This is when your solar energy system is connected to the utility grid. With these types of systems, the only time you will need to use the utility grid’s energy is when your solar panels are not producing energy, like on a rainy day or at night.
This also applies to cloudy days. Solar power production decreases on cloudy days, but not nearly as effectively as they would on ‘solar days’ or days with full sunshine. On days with poor or cloudy weather the solar panels will produce roughly 10-25% of their normal output. This output is dependent on the severity of the cloud coverage and the energy efficiency or capabilities of the panel brand.
On the other hand, if a solar energy array produces more energy than what is consumed by the home or business the energy is then immediately sent to the utility grid. Since solar panels can not store the energy it must be sent to the grid, consumed instantly by the home/building, or stored in a battery. And while utility companies will buy your excess solar energy, it’s usually at a fraction of the cost that you pay the utility company for energy.
Batteries give you the ability to manipulate your energy. Being able to control your energy usage helps you save money when the energy produced by your solar panels is used during peak demand times (or times when utility rates are the highest). Peak demand times typically fall within the early evening hours when solar panels are not generating as much energy. However, when solar power is paired with a battery unit you can use stored clean energy during the peak demand times which decreases your monthly utility costs.
At Creative Solar USA, we carry several energy storage options, and we’re certified installer partners with top battery brands like Tesla and sonnen. With many energy storage technologies to choose from your CSUSA consultant will gladly guide you through the entire process, and assist you in choosing a system that fits your needs. Call us today and get started with your free virtual solar consultation!