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Do Solar Panels Need Direct Sunlight-Uncover the Secrets

Do Solar Panels Need Direct Sunlight-Uncover the Secrets

Direct sunlight is important for solar panels, as the more direct sunlight that hits the solar panels, the more electricity they can generate. However, in many situations, direct sunlight may not be available, and they may be obstructed by buildings, trees, and clouds, or be affected by rain or snow. Thus, many people will ask do solar panels work without sun? What will happen when they don’t receive direct sunlight? This blog will answer your question by explaining the influence of lacking direct sunlight caused by different situations.

Is Direct Sunlight Required for Solar Panels to Work?

When it comes to the issue of whether direct sunlight is required for solar panels to work, we must begin with an understanding of how solar energy works. Solar panels are built of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. This energy can then be converted into usable alternating current (AC) electricity through an inverter.

While it is true that solar panels do require sunlight to produce electricity, they do not necessarily require direct sunlight. In fact, solar panels can still produce electricity on cloudy or overcast days, although the output is lower than on clear, sunny days.

However, it is important to note that the efficiency of solar panels is directly impacted by the amount of direct sunlight they receive. The more direct sunlight that hits the panels, the more electricity they will produce. This is because direct sunlight provides the highest amount of energy per unit area and angle of incidence.

Do Solar Panels Work in the Shade?

When solar panels are partially covered by shade, their efficiency and energy output are significantly reduced due to limited exposure to sunlight. Generally, solar panel owners may experience a decrease of approximately 40% in their energy production due to shading. However, several factors come into play when assessing the impact of shade on solar power:

Duration of the shading: The longer solar panels remain in the shade, the greater the decrease in electricity production. It's important to note that sunlight and shade patterns vary throughout the year as the sun's rays constantly change their path and angle. For instance, a nearby tree may cast shade on your panels during winter but not during summer.

Inverter setup: The performance of solar panels differs depending on whether they utilize a central string inverter or microinverters. In systems with a central string inverter, shade on a single panel affects the power output of the entire solar array. Conversely, solar panels equipped with microinverters or DC power optimizers perform better under shade. In such setups, shade on one panel has no impact on the others, resulting in only a slight reduction in overall energy production. 

The technology used: Modern solar panels incorporate half-cut photovoltaic cell technology, which helps them partially withstand the effects of partial shade. However, solar panels without half-cut PV cells do not perform as well when exposed to shade.

Solar Panels in Different Weather Conditions

Solar panels can work in different weather conditions, but their efficiency and energy output can be affected in various ways. Here's how solar panels perform in some typical weather conditions:

Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

Solar panels have the ability to generate electricity even on cloudy days, although their effectiveness may be reduced compared to sunny days. Clouds act as a barrier, limiting the sunlight that reaches the panels and causing a decrease in electricity production. However, this decrease is not absolute, and solar panels can still produce about 10% to 60% of their regular power output, depending on the thickness of the clouds. Don't worry,our experts take cloudy days into consideration, with a high conversion efficiency rate of up to 23%, Anker 625 Solar Panel can generate significant amounts of solar energy, even on cloudy or overcast days. Thus you can keep your solar generators charged and ready to use, regardless of the weather conditions.

Moreover, it comes equipped with our proprietary Suncast technology, which enables the solar panel to adjust itself for optimal sunlight capture and maximum charge, so that you can rest assured that the solar panel is always working efficiently and generating as much power as possible.

Do Solar Panels Work on Rainy Days?

Normally, the rain itself doesn’t affect solar panel output. It is the cloud that comes along with rain that blocks the sunlight and influences the efficiency of solar panels, causing a 40%–90% decrease in regular energy output. However, there is a bright side to rainfall as it helps clean the surface of solar panels, which improves their efficiency.

Do Solar Panels Work in Snow?

Snowfall on the panels can affect the efficiency of solar panels, but they can still generate electricity, A dusting of snow has little impact because sunlight can shine through it and reach the solar panels. While the accumulation of heavy snow has a larger impact. However,  It's relieving that solar panels are great at shedding snow because they have a slick surface, they can warm up as they absorb heat and they are usually installed at an angle that allows snow to slide off easily. And once the snow starts to slide, power generation is becoming normal again. On the other hand, similar to rain, snow helps clean the panels when it melts.

How Much Direct Sunlight Do Solar Panels Need?

Maximizing the efficiency of solar panels is essential in achieving the expected return on investment. To make sure your system gives its maximum performance, it needs to be exposed to at least four hours of direct sunlight each day. If exposure is less than this amount, it can lead to lower levels of energy production from efficiency.  Beyond sunlight, location, and seasonal changes also affect your solar panels' output; therefore always consult with a professional to make sure your panel is set up in a manner that provides the best results. With expert guidance on placement and orientation, you will be in a position to get maximum usage from your solar generator for years to come.


There is no doubt that solar panels work most effectively when they receive enough direct sunlight, but direct sunlight isn’t that necessary for solar panels to generate energy. You don't have to worry about your solar panel becoming useless when there is shade on the panels, or on cloudy, rainy, or snowy days. The fact is that, though your solar panels reduce the output when direct sunlight is limited, they still make use of limited sunlight to produce electricity.

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