Summer is approaching which means the days will seem longer as we have more sunlight.
A common concern we receive from our customers call about how their solar panels are not working. Customers will call in and report their grids aren’t working. They still have power in their homes, the grids are just not responding.
We check the system, customer information, and then we check the clock. Bingo. It’s 9 pm. There is no sun out for the panels to use.
Believe it or not, this is a common call we receive. In all fairness, it is a valid one.
Even though the moon produces light which is a reflection of the solar light, it does not produce enough photovoltaic energy (PV) to be registered on your solar panels.
So how does the power stay on if the sun is gone?
There are a few ways your house receives power when it is dark outside.
- Your house could have a battery with your solar panel system which stores excess power during the day and then powers your house during the evening. You can program your battery to turn on and off during specific hours of the day or only turn on when there is an outage.
- If you do not have a battery, your power could be absorbed into the energy grid. This is surplus electricity from what your panels have gathered during the day. Depending on your utility provider, you may be billed for this or you may receive compensation for it.
The second option is called “Net Billing” and is dependent upon your utility provider.
For this reason, most solar panel consumers are turning to battery installation for their homes so they can access any excess power generated during the day.
However, in 2020, Tristan Deppe of the University of Maryland and Jeremy Munday of the University of California, Davis published their findings on prototype solar panels capable of generating electricity at night.
In summary to their findings, they say when the right materials are used, heat could be absorbed from the Earth, which would power the panels, and redistributed to the sky to absorb the remaining heat.
With this in mind, there is a possibility solar panels could still generate electric power even when the sun is out. Until this hits the market, consider the benefits of a battery to stockpile your excess electricity.