If you are thinking of adding a solar installation to your home or business, you probably have a lot of questions on your mind. One of the most common questions that first-time solar owners have is “How reliable is solar power?” It’s easy to understand why that question could pop into your head—after all, the sun isn’t out all the time. Not only is it absent from the sky for about 12 hours a day, but cloudy and inclement weather can also hide it. How much does this reduce the effectiveness of your solar installation? Continue reading to find out.
Do Cloudy Days Prevent Solar Panels from Working?
Solar installations work on a simple principle: The light from the sun hits a solar panel, and the photons inside the light are converted into electricity, which can then be used to provide power to a building. Solar panels, of course, can only use light if light is available, so they don’t work at night. But what happens when the sky is cloudy, and the sun isn’t directly visible? Does that stop solar panels from working?
Since clouds obscure the sun and reduce the amount of sunlight that gets to the surface of the Earth, they do reduce the efficiency of solar installations. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that light is still reaching solar installations even when it’s cloudy. Even the cloudiest day is likely to be much brighter than nighttime. The same goes for other types of weather that block out the sun, including rain, fog, and even heavy thunderstorms. Your solar installation should continue to operate as usual even if the sky is completely overcast.
In general, solar installations are not significantly affected by the weather. They are designed to hold up to rain, wind, and even snow. As long as your solar equipment has been correctly installed by a professional, you shouldn’t have any cause for concern.
Does the Unpredictability of the Weather Affect the Cost of Solar?
While cloudy days don’t stop solar installations from working, they do have a measurable effect on their efficiency. Clouds block light, so that means that not as many photons will be hitting your solar panels. Since predicting the weather can be a tricky business, does this mean that it’s difficult to predict how efficient a solar installation will be over a given period of time? Even if the forecast is sunny for the next week, weather forecasts aren’t always correct. How much does this matter?
As it turns out, it may not matter at all. A 2016 study done by economists at the University of Arizona’s Eller College found that the added expense caused by any weather-related slowdowns in efficiency was negligible. In fact, the most significant cost associated with solar power is the initial expense of installing the equipment. By all indications, the cost of going solar is not affected by the unpredictability of the weather.
Does the Sun’s Unpredictability Matter for Tucson’s Solar Customers?
Customers in the Southwest may find themselves wondering if this is an issue that touches them at all. In general, the answer is no. After all, the Tucson area is known for its unusual amount of sun, with an average of 286 sunny days every year. While there are plenty of cloudy and rainy days—as well as an annual monsoon season, during which the desert landscape is swept by sudden storms—it’s safe to say that Tucson solar customers can expect high efficiency from their solar installations.
If you want to ensure that that’s the case, however, it’s important to seek out the best solar equipment available today, and to have it installed by a qualified solar expert. You want your solar panels to serve you well for a long time, after all, and proper installation is essential to efficient operation. Once you’ve paid to have solar equipment installed, you can look forward to it providing you with low-cost energy for years to come.
Are you ready to harness the power of the sun to provide your building with energy? Custom Solar and Leisure is proud to provide first-class solar services to homes and businesses across the greater Tucson area. Our company has been ranked by Solar World as one of the country’s best solar contractors for three years and counting. We have been helping our customers find solar solutions that work for them for more than 10 years, and we’ll be happy to help you, too! If you would like a free solar evaluation for your building, contact us today at (520) 314-3768.