Will Solar Panels Generate Energy when It Is Raining?

The general belief with solar panels is, no sun - no power, but is this really the case or will your expensive solar panels still convert solar to power?






With so many homeowners rushing around to install solar panels in their homes to offset the disasters of load shedding, there is one question that begs an answer and it is one that many people are confused about. Do solar panels still collect and convert energy when it is raining?



Do solar panels generate power when it is cloudy or raining?

Many South African homeowners are naive on the topic of solar power and the installation of solar panels to power a home. We understand the basics, sunshine = energy, but not much more than that. It is time that we become more informed on a subject that impacts our lifestyle and our future.




One belief or myth is that solar panels will not operate on rainy days. This is not one hundred per cent true, since solar panels will still generate electricity when it is cloudy or raining. Infrared light can cause sunburn even when it is cloudy and, despite a reduction in power output, solar panels will continue to provide energy to power a home. The question to ask a  solar panel supplier or installer would be... "What can I expect from your product as far as energy output on cloudy or rainy days and can you provide a detailed cost-benefit analysis for this region?"



"If solar only worked in sunny areas, places like Germany wouldn’t be producing 20-30% of all its energy daily from solar power."




With extreme weather events growing more severe, taking protective measures to protect your investment should be a priority. Ask the question... "What IP rating applies to the solar panels?" IP68 is a good rating that certifies that the solar panels are dustproof and waterproof.








Can solar panels be damaged by hail?

Solar panels are manufactured to be climate-ready with a tempered glass covering, but with climate change bringing about unexpected weather conditions, will solar panels be strong enough to withstand heavy hail or violent winds? Again, this question will depend on the quality of the solar panel products being offered. The question you need to ask any solar panel installer is... "What level of protection is there against hail damage?"



Solar panels should be able to perform in any weather conditions but when the weather becomes extreme, as it does in these times of climate change, you need to ensure that the panels you have installed are able to withstand whatever comes their way. We now know that solar panels do generate a reduced amount of energy but can they also withstand a battering of golf ball-sized hailstones?



"While a large majority of solar panels offer a level of protection, panels that have a rating of UL 61730 must undertake tests to ascertain that they are able to withstand hailstorms of hail between 20 and 60 mm, travelling at speeds up to 142 kph. The installation of these rated panels can protect your solar installation in almost any storm."










Xpress Industries, a solar installation expert operating in Queensland, has been supplying and installing solar panels for over 30 years and they advise that protective covers and films are available that will add a layer of protection against hail. However, make sure that any protection does not impede or block out direct sunshine. While energy production will be slightly reduced, it does offer the panel protection against damage.



How easy is it to have solar panels stolen?

South Africa wouldn't be South Africa if we didn't look at the theft factor and, yes, solar panels are already proving to be a 'wanted' item! The good news is that there are protective anti-theft clips that can be included during installation to make it harder to remove the panels and protect your expensive investment.







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