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Do Solar Panels Work With Moonlight

By Benjamin Strusnik April 13, 2022

The increased use of solar panels worldwide has had a positive impact on the environment.

As the demand for solar panel kits increases annually, the need for optimizing solar energy production also rises.

during the day, solar panels take energy from the sun which is then converted into electricity and stored for everyday use.

At night time we only have the moon as a source of light. Is it possible for solar panels to capture and store energy from moonlight?

Moonlight

It’s not unreasonable to assume that solar panels can absorb, convert, and store energy from the moon. After all, it’s just a large glowing rock, anyway.

The moon is different from the sun though. The sun projects UV rays on the earth and the moon simply reflects these rays created by the sun.

The moon is like the sun's mirror. It merely reflects the light created by the sun back to earth in the form of moonlight.

moonlight solar panels

The solar energy sent by the sun during the day is therefore much stronger than that reflected by the moon at night.

Solar Panels At Night

So the question begs, do solar panels work at night?

The short answer to this question is yes, but not that well.

The reality is that the electricity generated by solar panels at night is minimal.

On a perfect night, with no cloud cover and a full moon, a solar panel will only produce between 0.2%- 0.3% of the normal energy they would produce in direct sunlight.

This amount of energy isn’t even enough to power a basic light bulb.

Sleep Mode

many questions need to be answered when it comes to solar energy, such as whether solar panels work in winter and how solar panels are affected by clouds and rain. There are many things to consider as well.

When it comes to moonlight and solar panels though, a factor to be considered is sleep mode.

Most modern solar panel kits enter into a sleep mode function at night. This means that they don't produce any electricity during this time.

Do solar panels charge off moonlight

The mere fact that solar panel manufacturers felt the need to include this function shows that the energy, if any, produced at night is almost insignificant.

Even if you disable the sleep mode function or purchase a solar panel that has no such function, your inverter could potentially disable itself if insufficient energy is being produced.

How Will You Have Electricity At Night?

You might be concerned that you won’t have electricity if your solar panel isn't producing any at night. There's no need to worry about this.

A normal solar panel kit usually contains a solar battery.

As your solar panel takes UV rays from the sun during the day, it converts them from direct current into alternating current through the solar inverter. 

Once the inverting stage is complete, the energy produced is stored in the solar battery.

At night you can power your home or appliances with the energy stored in the solar battery and you won’t need your panels be producing electric current at night.

How Will You Have Electricity At Night

The Main Focus

Now we have established that solar panel kits are ineffective during the night.

The most important thing to consider is the number of solar panels needed to power your home and not how to optimize energy production at night.

Calculating the number of panels needed can become complex, but the easiest way is to use a solar calculator.

Once you have figured out how many panels you require, your next decision involves which type and size battery you want to power your home at night.

Conclusion

Solar panels using artificial light, as well as moonlight, cannot compete with the direct sunlight produced during the day.

At night time, solar cells are unable to produce enough energy to power even the smallest of light bulbs.

The moon simply does not produce the energy needed for solar panels as it merely reflects the UV rays produced by the sun.

Moonlight should not be a consideration when it comes to optimizing the energy production of your solar panel.

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