How Solar Panels Work
Does cloud cover have an impact on generating power
It is well known that direct sunlight doesn’t have the same effect on solar panels as indirect sunlight does. In this study we aim to find out what direct light (direct sun) vs indirect light (shadows) do to the efficiency of a solar panel and in cloud cover. We hypothesize, that there will be an impact of direct sunlight vs direct shadow and also under direct light some parts of the panel won’t work at all or have less efficiency than others. The reason for this could be because direct direct sunrays have more energy compared to the shade from another object.
It may be possible your solar panels may be impacted by as much as 15 to 25% by direct sunrays, even though direct light is about 10 times more energy-efficient compared to indirect sunlight.
The direct sunlight will be the direct sunrays coming into direct contact with the solar panels, while indirect sunlight is when it comes from a shadow. At our university campus we are already aware of this effect which is why they cover their solar panels in order to protect them against direct sunlight. In general these effects can be observed on any solar panel system and aren’t exclusive for your University’s solar power plant. This could impact any urban or rural community where people have decided to install these kinds of systems for example schools, homes or businesses.
We aim to inspect if both unencumbered and shaded areas are affected equally direct however, they will still produce current. Indirect sunlight happens when sunlight is reflected off of a surface, such as cloud cover or snow. With this type of sunlight, direct rays cannot shine through, but photons from the sun will still reach the solar panels. Indirect sunlight acts as a filter for the full-powered rays of the sun. Cloud cover will not cause your solar panels to fail.
Solar system components are tested in all different weather conditions to ensure they’re durable enough to withstand a reasonable level of severe weather. From high winds to hail and all the other issues that come with extreme weather events, we’ll share just how much your solar panels can withstand, whether you’re located in hurricane country, tornado alley, or threatened by severe thunderstorms and winds. Backed by manufacturer testing, many solar panels are rated to withstand hail of up to an inch in diameter falling at about 50 miles per hour.
If severe weather brings snow or ice that accumulates on your panels, they will likely be fine. Panels are constructed to withstand a significant amount of weight from snow piling on top. In most areas of the country, the snow will melt off your panels much quicker than the ground and other surfaces, leaving them exposed and ready to generate plenty of free, clean energy.