I live in the northern part of California and always believed that solar panels will not work well in the cloudy and rainy climate here. I spot solar power systems on most roofs around Los Angeles and really envy the city’s sunny weather on every visit.
It was on one of my work trips that I happened to meet a technician from Plug It In Solar. I was again ruing my home town’s climate in general when the guy burst my bubble saying that a solar power system would work in such conditions as well!
I was quite taken aback when he clarified that solar panels generate power from light and it does not depend on the temperature as such. The sunlight manages to get through the clouds and rain to reach the panels. He avowed that the amount of energy produced will reduce by only 10% to 25% on average.
While I shook my head in sheer disbelief, he gave the example of Germany which has many cloudy days and is yet the world’s leading producer of solar energy. He said that Germany gets as much sun as Alaska and still accounts for 31% of the world’s solar power. Even the notoriously overcast UK has made a resounding success of its solar initiatives.
This was quite a turnaround for me even without the added benefit of the rain washing off the dust and dirt from the solar power systems, thus increasing their efficiency.