How To Maximize Solar Power Generation In Cloudy Conditions
Mar 06,2023 Basen
Many RVers turn to solar power to ensure they have electricity while camping off-grid. This allows them the freedom to camp in comfort anywhere, and it makes boondocking on government lands much easier.
All that said, RV solar power does have its downsides. For starters,cloudy weather can be an issue.
Do solar panels work in cloudy weather?
Some people think that solar panels don’t work at all in cloudy weather. This isn’t entirely true. Panels do continue to charge batteries, even when there are clouds in the sky.
That said, you can expect the efficiency of your panels to be reduced quite a bit, especially if the cloud cover is very heavy. This can be a real bummer if you’re relying only on solar power for all of your electricity needs. It will be an even bigger issue if the clouds decide to stick around for a while.
Increasing solar power on cloudy days
The good news is there are ways to increase the efficiency of your solar system. Using the tips below will help make your solar panels as efficient as possible. This is beneficial even on perfectly clear days but is all the more so when clouds fill the sky.
Invest in monocrystalline panels
Monocrystalline solar panels are more expensive than their polycrystalline or thin-film counterparts. That said, they are also much more efficient. This means you can cover the same amount of space in monocrystalline panels and get more power out of the deal!
This is definitely a no-brainer for an RVer with limited space who wants to get the most out of their solar power system, even in bad weather.
Keep the panels clean
Clean panels offer more power than dirty panels. This makes perfect sense. After all, it’s hard for the sun to get to the panels if they’re covered in dirt. Clean your panels regularly, especially if you spend time in dusty environments. We’re betting you’ll see a big difference in their performance.
Don’t park in the shade
Yes, clouds are a form of shade, but the sun’s rays can penetrate them. Most other types of shade are much more difficult for those rays to find a way through. Besides, you don’t want to add more obstacles than necessary.
For this reason, it’s important that you avoid parking in the shade if you have roof-mounted panels.
Consider a portable panel
Want to park in the shade to avoid some heat? Honestly, if the sky is filled with clouds, we’re guessing the shade won’t help much anyway. However, if you simply must park in the shade, you might consider carrying a portable panel to place away from the shade. This will be able to grab whatever sunlight is available in those cloudy conditions, even if your rig is under a tree.
Head to a higher elevation
Did you know solar panels are more efficient at higher altitudes? This is because the atmospheric barrier is less the higher you go. The increased solar radiation exposure tends to lead to an increase in generated voltage output. This, in turn, leads to higher efficiency.
Because of this fact, it makes sense to head to a higher elevation, if at all possible, whenever clouds are in the forecast. In some parts of the United States, this is totally doable.
More off-grid electricity tips
The tips above will help you get the most out of your solar panels, even in cloudy weather. That said, if there is a lot of cloud coverage or if the clouds stick around for a long time, these tips simply may not be enough. Because of this, we recommend employing the tips below.
Have a good battery bank
Having a large bank of LiFePO4 batteries like Basengreen 12V or 24V will help you get through the cloudy days without running out of the electricity you stored on the sunnier days. Some people have enough battery storage that they never have to worry about running out.
Head to a campground
If worst comes to worst, you can always head to a nearby campground to plug into shore power and recharge your batteries before heading back out into the wilderness.