ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) – New York State is one of the most cloudy states in the US, but clouds should not stop from solar power. Just look at Germany, one of the cloudiest places in Europe, yet the country is a leader in solar. It also happens to be cold, but that may be an advantage when it comes to solar.
Photovoltaic panels absorb the suns light and convert that light to energy. Efficiency of the panel has nothing to do with the temperature. In fact, in a cold climate the solar panel will be as effective and efficient as possible whereas a hotter climate can make the panel overheat and perform with less efficiency. A solar panel will work better in a cold climate under direct sunlight versus a hot and humid climate under direct sunlight.
This is similar to running a 5k. If running in high temperatures, you may overheat, sweat profusely, and not perform as well. If you are in a more comfortable climate, the run will be easier. Computers are also a good analogy. A computer can malfunction or shut down under extreme heat.
As far as clouds go, solar panels may see a decrease in productivity as cloud cover increases. Anywhere from 1 percent to 25 percent drop in efficiency can come from overcast clouds. PV solar panels can still absorb plenty of the suns energy as the sun emits a wide spectrum of radiation, not just light.
Depending on the sun angle, solar panels can be tilted to absorb the most light. It can also absorb through clouds and even precipitation. Panels that get covered in snow can be easily cleared and the snow may come off on its own depending on the angle of the panel. More information here.
Solar energy continues to grow quickly across the world, but still only amounts to a few percentage points of energy produced. While China is the number one producer of solar panels, Germany ranks number one when it comes to energy produced by solar. Source here.
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