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Camping Know-How: Do Solar Panels Work When It’s Cloudy Or Rainy?


When it comes to solar panels, these devices are responsible for generating the most electricity on days when the sun is out – but do they work when it’s cloudy? On cloudy days, a portable solar panel can function and generate electricity about 25% of its usual capacity. Furthermore, this amount will also vary in the density of the clouds. If you have been wondering whether or not you should buy portable solar panels, and if the weather in your location will affect its capability to generate electricity, then read on!

To address the elephant in the room – solar panels can still work during rainy or cloudy days. When the sun is blocked by the clouds, a solar panel can still produce clean electricity. The truth is that a solar panel can accumulate two types of light which are used for power – infrared light and visible light.

Even during an overcast, visible light still tends to pass through the clouds which can surpass the rain and be harnessed by the solar panel. Besides, the sky is not 100% black; it’s simply a few shades darker. Infrared light, as compared to visible light, will have an easier time passing through the clouds because it has longer wavelengths. For the same reason why we can see distant galaxies with the use of infrared telescopes even if there are billions of interstellar dust in between.

Have you ever gotten sunburned even when it is cloudy? With this concept, you’ll understand fully how solar panels work. It’s very theoretical. Here are some examples of places that are normally cold and rainy; yet, they still make use of solar panels.

• 50% of Germany’s electricity is covered by solar energy.

• With UK’s notorious overcast skies, their solar panels are still a huge success.

Now that we know that solar panels can work even when it is cloudy, let’s try and figure out if it works at night. Solar panels need sunlight. The reason why these work even when it is cloudy or rainy is because the two types of light can still manage to pass through. At night, there is no sunlight; therefore, solar panels do not work at night.

It is a myth that solar panel can accumulate solar energy at night. It can work at night in a way that it uses the stored solar energy to power your homes. Solar-plus-storage and net metering provide the solar panel system access to electricity overnight – a time when the production of the solar panel is dormant. Due to the grid connections, as well as the solar-plus-storage technology, solar panels are very sustainable and can be used in a roundabout way.

So if you’re planning to go on a camping trip, a portable solar panel is still an excellent option to bring. With the concepts made in this article, you can confidently bring this device to support your need for electricity on your camping adventure. Whether or not it will remain sunny throughout your trip, this device can still generate the needed electricity to power your gadgets and gears.

Worried about lighting or a dependable power supply why camping? 4WD Supa Centre has a good line of portable solar panels you can take with you on your next adventure.

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