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Do solar panels work at night?

4 min read

If you’re considering going solar, there are a number of questions that have likely crossed your mind. You might be wondering if solar panels increase home value. Or trying to learn more about how solar power works. If you are wondering if solar panels work at night, the short answer is no.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can still power your home with clean solar energy after dark. In this article, we’ll help you understand what solar panels do once the sun goes down, and which systems can be put in place to keep electricity flowing to your home even after dusk.

Do solar panels work at night?

As the name implies, solar panels rely on light from the sun to produce energy. Since solar panels need the sun to produce electricity, you may wonder how your appliances can continue to function at night. Your fridge has to keep running while you sleep, and you need the dishwasher for those post-dinner dishes after dark.

Where does your house get the energy to keep things running at night? While it might not be coming directly from your solar panels, you may be able to use credits that you received for your solar panels producing excess power during the day.

Why might your solar panels produce excess power? A solar energy system is designed to offset a certain portion of your total energy use, not just the electricity you consume while the sun is out and your panels are producing power. This means that your system may produce more power during the day than you will immediately use, especially if your house sits empty while you work or your kids are in school. You may be able to make the most of any excess power production thanks to net metering and solar storage.

What is net metering?

Net metering is a billing agreement between a solar customer and their utility. Depending on where you live, your utility may credit you for the excess power your solar panels produce. You’ll most likely use these net metering credits at night or during the winter when you’re panels aren’t able to produce as much electricity as when the sun is shining.

Nighttime solar power: working with solar storage

While solar panels aren’t able to produce energy after the sun goes down, you can still use the energy they produced during the day as long as you’ve stored it in a battery. There are batteries, like the LG Chem RESU10H, that are specifically made to work with a solar energy system. These batteries can store your excess solar power for later use, when your home’s energy needs are greater than your solar production. An additional benefit is that many of these home batteries can power select appliances during a power outage.

More about solar storage

A solar battery will be recharged when your Solar panels produce more energy than your home immediately uses, and discharged automatically when your home’s energy consumption exceeds the power produced by solar. Depending on your utility rate, your battery will smartly charge and discharge itself at times that are the most economically valuable for you.

Much like a phone battery, the more you use your solar battery, the sooner it will wear out. But solar batteries are made to last much longer than a cell phone battery. For instance, the LG Chem Battery comes with a 10-year performance warranty.

Both solar storage systems and net metering enable you to access any excess energy your solar panels already produced. Net metering can result in credits for the power your solar panels provide in excess, while solar storage systems do what the name suggests: store solar energy for when you need it.

How Vivint Solar can help with your energy needs

Learning everything there is to know about solar panels and the systems integrated with them can seem daunting. Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone. Vivint Solar sends experts to evaluate your unique home situation to ensure you get a solar solution that is right for you. We’ll give you a full analysis based on your existing energy usage and how much energy you could produce with solar based on the amount of sun that hits your home each day. Simply put, we cut the questions out of the equation. With Vivint Solar, you’ll get the best design that will maximize electrical output of your solar energy system.

Call one of our experts today for specifics on how you can get an efficient solar system that will help you power your life.

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