Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

How Solar Panels Work

Solar panels in Busselton are excellent sources of renewable energy. In simple terms, they utilise the power of sunlight to generate electricity. In more technical terms, solar panels contain several photovoltaic (PV) cells. When sunlight hits the PV cells, photons from the former dislodge electrons from the latter, generating a flow of current.

solar panels on cloudy day

With this operating principle, solar panels need a steady supply of sunlight to produce power. And since Australia has an abundance of sunshine all year round, this energy source works well in the country.

But it isn’t just sunlight itself that’s required. There are other considerations as well.

Factors which determine How Well Your Panels Work


Your solar panels must face the sun directly as much as possible. If they are placed such that the sun’s rays are not perpendicular to their surfaces, they will not generate the most electricity. Because the sun changes its position across the day, determining the best angle can be a challenge. However, you will be able to find that one angle that produces the most power across the entire day.

Intensity of sunlight

The sun’s rays are not consistently strong across the day. Usually, they are most intense from 11 am to 2 pm. In turn, solar panels would generate the highest amount of energy during those hours of daylight.

Cloud Cover

Yes, solar panels still work during cloudy days. However, they may not be at their maximum efficiency. The less sunlight the panels receive, the lower their power output would be. Also, during cloudy weather, sunlight becomes less intense once it reaches the panels, further contributing to the smaller wattage.

However, some solar panels do work better with fog or mist. The moisture diffuses the light from the sun, which in turn lets the panels collect more energy. 

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Craig Woods

Established in 1998, by Craig Woods, Powerlec has been a premier provider of electrical services for over 20 years. Growing with the market we established a presence not only in Perth but also in the Southwest with offices in Jandakot and Busselton.