Solar FAQ: Do Solar Panels Work At Night?

The key is in the name, right? Solar, referring to the sun, must mean that solar panels need light from the sun to work.

That’s a pretty easy concept to grasp but that doesn’t stop us from wondering whether power can still be generated at night. And it’s a good question because while your solar panels might not have any sun at night, that doesn’t mean your house will suddenly be without power.

Let me explain…

Will My Solar Panels Work At Night

Before I get into the details of how you can make the most of your solar energy during the hours of darkness, it’s important to understand one thing. Solar panels absorb UV rays from the sun and convert this into usable energy for your home.

For this reason, your solar panels will stop generating energy once the sun goes down. Once morning comes, those solar cells will start absorbing the sun’s rays again and more power will be created.

So, the short answer to the question of whether solar panels work at night is no. But…

Using Power At Night

Just because your solar panels don’t generate any power at night, that doesn’t mean that the power they generate during the day can’t be used at night.

The great thing about solar power is that the energy can be stored. In fact, many homes are now mainly powered using solar energy and that’s because energy stored up during the day will be more than enough to last throughout the night.

That said, in order to be able to make the most of the energy generated by your solar panels, you must have a solar battery installed.

Solar batteries can be attached to your solar system and hold onto any excess energy that isn’t being used to power your home during the day. Once the sun sets, the system will start drawing energy from the battery to continue powering your home until the following day.

Most people opt to have a solar battery fitted at the same time as the installation of their solar panels. However, even if you have an existing solar panel system in place, there’s nothing stopping you from having a solar battery installed at a later date.

This is also beneficial as it takes away your reliance on the grid. For example, a lot of homes use solar power but are still connected to the grid as a supplementary power source. If you’re looking to become as sustainable as possible then solar batteries are well worth considering.

Advances In Solar Technology

As I have discussed, solar panels are not designed to work at night. However, one of the things I love about solar technology is that it is always advancing. Recently, there have been some exciting reveals in the world of solar tech, including the prospect of panels that continue generating power through the night.

Of course, this is very new and probably isn’t going to be available on the wider market for some time. But this could be the beginning of a much more sustainable world.

In the most basic terms, solar panels have photovoltaic cells which are what absorb the energy from the sun’s light. Up until recently, these cells could only take UV rays from the sun but scientists have now come up with a new type of PV cell that can actually absorb infrared light.

It’s all to do with the heat that comes off the panels as a result of the light absorbed during the day. The Independent describes this as the solar panels ‘working in reverse’.

What’s even more exciting about this is that the research team are looking at ways of introducing this type of energy generation in remote or rural areas where there is currently no form of power.

Not only does this mean a more sustainable world but it also means that more people will have easy access to power, improving the quality of life for millions around the globe.

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