How Solar Panels Work: Do Solar Panels Need Direct Sunlight? 

January 16, 2024 | Reading Time: 6 minutes


As technology improves solar panel performance has continued to improve. This is great news for homeowners that are asking, “Do solar panels need direct sunlight?” because of shady homes.

Questioning do solar panels work in the shade is common. To create the most electricity solar panels need direct sunlight. However, they also work when they are partially covered by shade or on cloudy days.


Do Solar Panels Work In the Shade?

Yes, solar panels work in the shade. Since solar panels create renewable energy using photons. Photons are light particles that can reflects from different surfaces to generate energy. As long as there is some sunlight the solar cells in your panels will continue to produce solar power.

Your solar panels will also work when partially shaded. With technological advancements solar panels can now produce more energy with less sunlight.

Solar companies now install solar panels with microinverters. These microinverters allow solar panels that are in sunlight to produce electricity while others are in the shade.

There is an impact of shading to overall production. Minimal shading is preferred but your solar panels will work in the shade.


How Many Hours Of Sunlight Do Solar Panels Need?

On average, 3 to 4 hours of peak sunlight is ideal for your average home solar panels. Since the amount of sunlight will fluctuate throughout the day, sunnier parts of the day will make up for shadier parts of the day. This also applies to the seasons of the year where sunlight hours increases in the summer and decreases in the winter.

When looking at production of a solar panel system it is best to look at annual production. This is especially true in New England where the weather fluctuations affecting energy production.


Do Solar Panels Work On Cloudy Days?

Depending on the types of clouds your solar panels will work on cloudy days. If the clouds are high and thin then your solar panels will receive sunlight. They may even work better for brief period of times where the clouds intensify the sunlight reflecting through.

However if the clouds are lower and more dense the sunlight will reflect off the clouds and not reach solar panels.


Solar Batteries, Solar Panels And Shade

Solar batteries make a great add-on to assist your shaded solar panels. By installing solar batteries you are able to store excess solar energy on sunnier days. The stored energy is then available on shadier days that limit production.


Buying Solar Panels For Shade


If you are looking for the best solar panels for shade then we are hear to answer your questions. Every home and solar installation is different. We can answer any questions you have about shade at your home before you need to make any commitment.

At Isaksen Solar, we calculate your annual solar energy output, perform a shade analysis, and create a personalized system for your energy requirements.

Call us at (508)717-3820 or start your solar quote.