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Solar panels are powered by the sun, so what happens when the sun isn’t in sight? Can solar panels work in the rain?

For homeowners, making the switch to solar energy is a big leap, so you want to know it’s reliable. You want total confidence that you can power your home in the rain, on a cloudy day, and even during a fierce storm.

In this guide, we’re going to look at what happens to solar panels when it rains. We want you to have total confidence in their ability to power your home in every circumstance. Let’s dive in. 

Can Solar Panels Work in the Rain?

The good news is yes, they can. However, let’s chat about the details of your panel production on a rainy day. Solar panels still work in the rain, but not at the full capacity that they do when it’s sunny. The capacity they will perform depends on how cloudy and rainy it is that day. Sunrays can still shine through the clouds, so most solar panels will still work up to 25% capacity. 

The bright side is that the rain is also great for cleaning your solar panels, which is necessary to keep them functioning for decades to come.

If it’s a really cloudy day and your solar panels don’t produce enough energy to power your home, there are a few backup options that ensure you still have 24/7 power.

Net Metering

The first option is net metering, which is available in most states in the US. Through net metering, your solar system is connected to your local power grid. When your solar panels don’t provide enough energy, your home pulls electricity from the grid in the same way it did before you went solar.

On the other hand, on sunny days where your solar system provides more than enough energy, it’s passed on to your utility provider. Most providers give you a credit when that happens, which you can use to pull from the grid when you need extra power. 

When you have the right size solar system for your home,  you will rarely need to draw power from your local grid. This is why it’s so important to have an expert analyze your energy usage and rooftop to create the perfect system for your needs! However, it’s still nice to have net metering as a backup during particularly rainy and cloudy days. 

Backup Batteries

Another way your home stays powered during bad weather is through backup batteries. A backup solar battery will store your extra energy on efficient days and pull from it on days when your solar panels aren’t producing enough.

This is a great option if you want to be completely self-sufficient instead of relying on your local utility company for power. It’s also useful for powering your home during outages when the local grid fails. 

Now that you know how solar panels can continue working in the rain, let’s answer some common questions homeowners have about bad weather!

Solar Panels DO Work In The Rainy Season

What if you live somewhere that’s gloomy and rainy most of the time? Will there be enough sunny days to power your home on the overcast days?

Once again, the answer here is yes. Solar panels can even work during the rainy season because they still absorb diffused light through the clouds. If this is a major concern, check on your state’s net metering system to see if you’ll have a connection with the local utility provider as a backup plan.

Does Rain Damage Solar Panels?

One thing homeowners always want to know is whether or not rain damages solar panels. Solar panels are designed to be waterproof, so even intense rain won’t harm them. They are also rust-resistant, which is why they last for decades! As we said, rain can even help you by cleaning dirt and pollen off of your panels and increasing their efficiency.

Can Solar Panels be Affected by Weather?

What about intense winds, lightning, snow, or hail? Will those weather conditions damage your solar panels?

As long as you have a secure roof, high winds will not impact your solar panels. In fact, they are manufactured to handle up to 140 mile per hour winds, so you can hunker down stress-free when the wind is howling.

Lightning could cause a voltage surge, but as long as your solar panels are installed properly, it isn’t something to worry about. However, there are extra lightning protection systems that you can add to your solar system. 

Snow on your solar panels will melt quickly since they are in direct sun, so it does not impact their functionality, and solar panels undergo  multiple tests to ensure they can survive even strong hail.

Do Solar Panels Work at Night?

This question isn’t weather-related, but it still comes up a lot when homeowners are apprehensive about solar panels!

Solar panels need sunlight to produce energy, so they do not work at night. However, that does not mean that your home won’t have power once the sun goes down. This is when net metering kicks in, or you can rely on your backup energy from batteries.

On a sunny day, your solar panels produce more energy than you need to power your home. You can rely on net metering or backup batteries during bad weather or at night to keep the lights on and appliances running. 

How much backup power you can rely on depends on your home’s energy usage and the climate where you live. Sunny states like Arizona will store plenty of backup energy over the summer to power homes when the sun isn’t shining. 

Final Thoughts on Rain and Solar Panels

So, can solar panels work in the rain, lightning, snow, and cloudy weather? Our answer is a resounding yes!. In fact, solar energy is the most abundant and reliable energy source on the planet.

When you factor in the savings, environmental benefits, and reliability of solar panels, making the switch is a no-brainer. When you’re ready to own your power, contact Primitive Power and our solar experts will put together a free quote and rendering of your home with solar panels. We make it easier than ever to make the switch, and we’re excited to help you!