So, Do Solar Panels Work at Night?

How do solar panels work at night?

  1. Through net metering
  2. Through the use of solar energy storage technologies, or batteries

In the Philippines, the price of solar panels has decreased significantly. But are they of any use to homeowners and businesses at night?

It’s safe to say that the consumers have acknowledged the importance of sunlight in order to make the solar panels work and provide sufficient electricity supply to them. But we still need electricity at night, if only to power electric fans or air conditioners while we slumber. It can’t be avoided that there is concern as to the usability of solar energy at night, as there is no sunlight during this time.

 

Do solar panels work at night? If so, how?

There are two main ways to make solar panels work at night: through net metering and solar energy storage technology or batteries. Both allow consumers to access energy from the solar panels even without the sun on the rise.

 

Net Metering

Net metering makes solar panels a huge investment for consumers. It allows consumers to earn from their excess energy supply during the day, and maintains a connection to the grid during nighttime.

The process works like this: you keep the connection between you and the grid, while you also install the solar panels. So when the weather’s not good that there’s not enough sunlight for the solar panels to convert into electricity, your electricity supply can be taken from the grid. On the other hand, whenever your solar panels receive more sunlight, the excess electricity can be delivered to the grid. From there, you may earn credits that you can use during the night.

It can also be said that the grid serves as an energy storage for solar panels.

Solar Energy Storage

Another way to make solar panels work during the night is through solar energy storage such as batteries. These can be requested from your solar panel provider to include during installation.

Batteries are widely used compared to net metering, as the latter is not entirely available all over the world.

 

Are there other ways to further utilize solar panels at night?

As far as solar panels are concerned, various researches are being conducted all over the world to make the said technology work all night long.

These researches include prototypes, concepts, and technologies that are not only cost-efficient but also available in flexible materials for energy harvesting. One study, as The Solar Company writes, involved the use of “…embedding square spirals of conducting metal onto a sheet of plastic (called nanoantennas.”

Through these nanoantennas, solar panels are able to absorb UV light and infrared energy. Infrared energy is basically what the Earth has absorbed from the sun even after it has set. When combined with stored solar energy, the nanoantennas can have higher efficiency levels than the standard solar cells.

 

Key Takeaway

The short answer is yes, solar panels work at night – given that there’s enough stored energy to convert into electricity. However, with regards to its capability of generating energy during night is simply “possible” – given that researches are still being conducted and nothing’s definite as of now. Only time can tell what’s in the future of solar panels.