Solar panels convert light particles into electricity so it goes without saying that they need sunlight to function. A common question is what happens to my electricity when the sun isn’t shining.
How Do Solar Panels And Net-Metering Work?
When the sun is shining solar panels absorb light and generate electricity. Solar panels work best during sunny days and your system will send any excess power your panels generate into the utility grid. This energy is credited to you through your new solar net meter. This meter can spin forwards and backwards, instead of just forwards like your current meter does. When you produce more electricity than you use, the meter spins backwards to credit you for the energy you sent back to the grid.
Winter Season and Nighttime
On cloudy days your system will still produce some energy, but not as much on bright sunny days. When there is no sunlight your system can’t produce any energy. In the event that your panels are covered with snow the panels will start producing as soon as the snow melts. Snow will melt off of your panels more quickly than if the snow was on your roof shingles because the panels are made of glass instead of coarse shingles. These are the times where you will pull electricity from the grid and burn off some of the credit that you generated by sending power to the grid while the sun was out.
In order to accurately forecast your solar production it is important to analyze your roof using a shading analysis tool like a Solmetric Suneye. This device takes a wide-angle photo of the skyline from various locations on your roof to take into account how the sun will travel over your roof at different times of the day and year. We take into account the direction your house faces, how steep your roof is, and where you are located in addition to the shading report taken from you roof. This is modeled through 50 years of weather data for your location to take into account how many rainy, snowy, cloudy, and sunny days are normal in your area.
You Won’t Notice A Difference, Except Your Bill
There will be no difference in how much electricity you can use or how any of your electric devices operate with solar since you will always have power as long as the grid is online. Your solar panels will simply generate electricity when the sun is out which will give you credit to use that power at another time. The only change you will notice is a lower electric bill every month!