Do Solar Panels Work at Night?

Solar panels are a point of fascination for many people, especially those who are considering purchasing some to generate their own electricity. Solar panels work the best by day, especially during the seasons where the sun is out for longer periods of time. Many people think that in order for a solar panel to work the right way, the day has to be sunny and hot outside. This is not true. Solar panels do not need heat in order to work. Instead, they only need light. This means that on any average day, the solar panels can function efficiently. During the day, the sun is bright and can provide plenty of light for the panels to absorb and transfer into energy, but can the same be said after sunset? Do solar panels work at night?

The simple answer is YES!

While solar panels might not be consistently making electricity at night, you’ll notice that you are still receiving power in the home. This is because your home is connected to the main grid. During the day, the power that is not used gets put back into the electric grid that will allow other people to use it, which is why your energy company pays you for what you don’t use. During the night when your system isn’t generating energy, you can take back from that power grid.

While this is great, you can also install a backup battery that can be privately used by you, just in case. The only time that your solar panels won’t work is when it is seriously cloudy outside or at night. One way that you can get this power during the night without drawing from the energy grid is to have a backup battery. The batteries will store the extra solar power that is generated during the day, allowing you to power your home both when the sun is unavailable due to super cloudy weather and when it is dark outside.

Do solar panels work at night because of moonlight?

Technically, moonlight can power your panels since it is a reflection of the sun, but the output is so low that it may as well not even be considered as being there at all. Moonlight can power a solar panel at a ratio of 345:1. This means that a solar panel which would normally generate around 3,450 watts of power during the sunniest portion of the day and would only generate 10 watts of power when the moon is full. A quarter moon would only allow for half of that, and so on. You could indeed concentrate the light from the moon using refractive or reflective techniques to enhance the wattage, so that is always an option.

In conclusion, your solar panels are going to work when you need them to, even when it is dark outside. This is due to the power reserves that either come off of the main, shared power grid or from the backup battery bank you have installed. So, to answer the question, “do solar panels work at night?”, you must understand that plenty of power is made throughout the day and can, in most cases, keep you powered up the whole night through.