Find The Best Deals on Your Favorite solar power Products and Save!

Let's Go!

How Does Weather Affect Solar Panels? [What Is Optimal?]

Tim Carter
Written by Tim Carter Last Updated: July 31, 2022

Each hour, the sun radiates 430 quintillion Joules of energy toward Earth. The earth would need more energy in a year than that. Even when some of the energy finds its way to a solar panel and converts into electricity we can use to power our appliances, it is still not a perfect energy exchange. So how does weather affect solar panels? Can they work efficiently in cloudy days, during rain and snow?

A variety of factors influence the output of your system. The efficiency of the solar panel, its orientation toward the sun, and the weather, including temperature and cloud cover, affect how much energy solar panels can generate. 

Table of Contents

What Is the Optimal Climate for Solar Panels?

The ideal climate for solar panels is a cold climate with lots of sunshine.

Like other electronics, solar panels work better in cooler environments, producing more power and electricity. As the temperature rises, the panel becomes less efficient and produces less voltage, which results in less electricity being generated.

However, despite being more efficient in the cold, solar panels don’t produce more electricity in the winter than they do in the summer. How come? Simply, the sunniest days are normally during the summer when the temperature is the warmest.

Therefore, because of fewer clouds and more daylight hours, your panels will probably generate more electricity even though they are less efficient in hot weather.

What impact does temperature have on production?

To find out this information, look at the spec sheet for various panels. The figures on these pages are the outcomes of several tests the business conducted.

For every degree above 77 degrees, your panel’s efficiency will typically decrease by 1%. (called the standard testing condition, or STC).

For each degree below 77 degrees, its effectiveness will increase by 1%.

Do Solar Panels Work in Cloudy Conditions?

Anything that gets in the way of the sun will certainly decrease the quantity of electricity your solar system generates. Clouds in the sky, fog, or the shade of a nearby tree.

But depending on the density of the cloud cover, your panels can still produce enough electricity.

Remember, you can get sunburnt on cloudy days because cumulus cloud edges act as a magnifying glass, so when cumulus clouds block the sun, a brighter beam of sunlight strikes your solar panels.

If you want to check whether your system is producing electricity, look for shadows outdoors.

Your system is probably operating in some capacity if you can see the shadows that objects are casting.

If there is no shadow, the cloud cover is usually too dense to generate any power.

Do not let the fact that your panels will only produce 10 to 30 percent as much electricity on gloomy days as they will on bright ones deter you from going solar.

Even if you live somewhere with less sunshine than Southern California and Arizona, it might still be a profitable investment.

So that you can make an informed decision based on your circumstances, solar contractors should account for overcast weather when calculating your system’s output in your solar quote.

You can also use the additional electricity your system produces on sunny days to make up for electricity used on cloudy days if you live in a region that offers net metering.

Does Rain Affect Solar Panel Efficiency?

The rain clouds will probably reduce your production even though the rain itself will not have any effect on the solar panels. The output of your solar system, however, can benefit from an occasional downpour because it is a simple, secure way to clean your panels.

Related: Do Clouds Affect Solar Panels? [Can They Generate Enough Power?]

Regular rainfall prevents a coating of debris or dust from building up on the panels and obstructing the light, which can reduce output.

Scientists have been experimenting with a new type of solar panel that could still create electricity when it rains, albeit it is not yet a broadly practical alternative.

These solar cells, also known as hybrid solar panels, draw power from the sun and the rain.

The force of the impact as precipitation strikes the panels transforms into energy.

They function exactly like conventional solar panels when it is sunny (but are still less efficient for now).

Related: Do Solar Panels Work in the Rain? [What About Other Conditions?]

How Does Snowy Weather Affect Solar Panels?

Does snow affect solar panels? What about the cold?

Snow will affect production regardless of whether there are clouds present, unlike rain, which does not collect on the panels and hinder light.

After all, anything that prevents your solar panels from receiving sunlight prevents them from producing electricity. Even big snowfalls, though, will quickly melt and slide off your panels depending on the weather after the snowstorm and the tilt of your panel.

Solar energy is an excellent choice for many households, companies, and farms in the country’s foggy, rainy, or snowy regions even though it depends on the sun. But do not merely believe what we say.

What’s The “Best” Weather for Solar Panels?

The best times for solar energy production are on calmer, sunny days.

But in the northeast, chilly, sunny days are associated with the end of fall, beginning of winter, and beginning of spring, which also means fewer sunshine hours.

As a result, even while energy output is at its highest point, the amount of sunshine reaching the panels is at its lowest point of the year.

As you can see, there is no “optimal” time to produce solar energy because the generation of solar energy depends on the weather, the amount of sunshine, and the seasons.

Final Thoughts

So how does weather affect solar panel systems? Are they efficient in all weather conditions?

Several variables influence the output of your system.

The amount of energy that solar panels can produce depends on the efficiency of the panel, how it is facing the sun, and the surrounding conditions, such as temperature and cloud cover.

On calmer, sunny days, solar energy production is at its most efficient.

But in the northeast, cool, sunny days signal the end of fall, the start of winter, and the start of spring, which also brings fewer hours of sunlight.
Solar panels do not create more electricity in the winter than they do in the summer, despite being more effective in the cold.


Tim Carter
Tim Carter

Hey there! 👋

Check out these most popular solar power products on the market: