Made in the Shade

Renewable energy, Solar power — By Stephanie on September 7, 2008 at 8:39 am
 Made in the Shade

Probably one of the most misunderstood features of solar panels is whether they function on cloudy or rainy days. The short and simple answer is a surprising YES! Plastic solar cells have been developed to be able to create electricity from solar energy no matter the weather outside. Of course, the biggest bang for the buck is when the sun is bright and the days long.

Sunny summer days produce the most amount of convertible solar power, while cloudy, short winter days the least. But any amount of daylight can be converted by solar panels into electricity. So do not let your location dissuade you from thinking about installing solar roof tiles or solar panels on your home to harness the power of the sun.

The further north you live from the equator, the more you may have tilt the installed solar panels. Larger panels may be required, as well, in cloudier climes. Remember too that during a long stretch of sunny weather, excess energy generated from your solar panels can be stored in batteries to be used in the future when clouds roll in.

The United States is actually far behind other countries like Germany and Japan, which are leading the charge in solar power. Germany enjoys far less light exposure than parts of the U.S. (particularly the desert Southwest), but it is a shining example of what the future could hold all over the planet.

Rainy Seattle Skyline – Image from Flickr

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