Do solar panels work at night? Night time solar may now be possible. - Solar Bridge

Do solar panels work at night? Night time solar may now be possible.

May 20, 2022

Solar power is a natural source of energy that is literally free. Over a period of time Solar Power is used to generate electricity and power our homes and businesses. The number of households with solar panels has risen dramatically over the years as more Australians want to decrease their carbon footprint and contribute to the environment which might help us achieve our climate goals and also save money. Because of our mild temperature, solar is an effective renewable energy source in sunny Australia, but what happens after the sun sets? Are solar panels functional at night? What if you don’t have access to renewable energy? 

So do solar panels actually work at night?

To understand if solar panels work at night, let’s first get into the explanation of how solar works? It is very basic, so most of us might be aware of it. In that case, you may choose to skip the basic explanation and read further. 

  • Solar panels absorb the solar energy (radiation and heat energy) and convert it to Direct Current (DC) electricity. However, DC electricity is unable to power a home or workplace on its own because of differences in generation and appliance/s requirements.
  • A Solar Inverter converts DC electricity generated by the solar modules to Alternating Current (AC) electricity, which is required by most appliances.
  • AC electricity flows through the home or workplace, thus powering electronic devices.
  • Excess electricity produced by the solar panels is supplied to the electric grid or batteries for feed-in-tariffs or for future use.

Solar panels absorb the sun’s rays to convert electricity, so no sunlight means no electricity generation. However, a new research by the Australian researchers suggests that solar power can be generated in the night as well now. Recently, in an interview with abcnews professor Ned Ekins Daukes stated “After the sun sets and the day darkens the potential for solar energy well and truly remains. We get energy from the sun — it arrives, it warms up the Earth but then the Earth actually radiates the exact same amount of energy back out into space. As the energy flows from the Earth’s surface … [there is a] thermal emission out into the universe that we can tap.” 

An illustration of solar panels at day and at night.

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The major reason why solar is proving to be one of the smartest investments across the globe is the technology is advancing at a faster rate and the cost of going solar is becoming competitive. The improvement in technology is leading to higher electricity generation. 

Do solar panels work productively in low light? Or cloudy days?

If you did your homework before making a solar investment, the solar PV system will switch itself on before the sun rises and shut itself off after the sun has set. Solar panels might not function at night but they definitely produce energy on cloudy days or low light conditions. Think of it like this, even when the sun is hiding in the clouds, you get those unwanted tan lines. So, the sunlight can easily penetrate through the clouds and reach the panels and help generate the electricity. Solar panels also function on rainy days. However, the energy generated in these times might be lesser than the shiny sunny days, but they do generate power.

Want to switch to solar power? Solar Bridge can help select the right solar products.

Over the years, step by step, bit by bit, Australia has moved towards becoming one of the leading countries in producing solar energy. Every individual is looking at contributing towards the environment by generating clean energy, which also saves them money. Recently there was a news that wholesale prices are set to rise leading to rising energy costs, Power Prices to rise by almost 100% – Installing Solar now can help save money. We as individuals have the power to contribute to the environment by switching to renewable energy and generating clean energy. Switching to solar can reduce your carbon footprints and make money.