CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The sunshine has finally returned, but after a rainy and gloomy week, we got an email from a viewer asking to explain how solar panels work in this type of weather.
Larry said: "since it has been raining for over a week, I am interested in finding out the output of all these solar panels."
So, we’re finding out: are solar panels any good in these types of conditions? And how will they hold up in wintry weather?
WCNC Charlotte turned to Joe Jensen, Director of Sales at Tayco Electric, to find out.
Jensen said clouds will impact the performance of solar panels.
“One day we can have a light cloudy cover, which will not affect performance that much, but when you get to a really thick cloud cover like we had the last four or five days, that will affect the performance,” he said.
So, on days that are primarily cloudy, the bulk of your power will come from the utility company
“And this is just a phenomenon that we experience every single day, so our homes use energy 24 hours a day. Well, the sun is only up for a portion of that time, so we really have to think about where is the power coming from when we don’t have sun and it’s gonna be typically the utility company," he said.
And the Winter season, as a whole, typically underperforms due to a lower sun angle and the weather.
“Winter weather comes with less sun and more rain and clouds. The sun is lower in the southern sky in the winter months," Jensen said. "The intensity of the solar radiation the sun is putting off is much less.”
With millions without power across the country, Jensen said solar would only be a part of the puzzle due to the high demand in areas that aren’t used to this type of weather
“Solar isn’t going to be the fix-all. I think if you have a solar system and maybe energy storage, some type of battery as well, you can potentially if you lose power, provide yourself power for a period of time if the sun is up,” he said.