There is a lot of debate over whether or not solar panels produce usable electricity with moonlight. Some people say that the energy from the moon is too weak to be effective, while others claim that it can actually help boost the power of solar panels.
The moon can power solar panels but it is not effective. The amount of electricity generated from solar panels depends on the intensity of the moonlight. The moon only provides reflected sunlight. A solar panel will only produce about 0.001% of the electricity that it does in direct sunlight.
Let’s explore this further and see the amount of energy solar panels can produce using moon light only.
How Does the Moon’s Light Compare to Sunlight?
The moon’s light is much weaker than the sun’s. In fact, the moon only emits about 0.001% of the solar radiation that Earth does.
This is because the moon does not generate its own light energy.
The sun’s light is also blocked by our atmosphere, which helps to reduce its intensity before it reaches us. Moonlight generates a lot less energy than raw sunlight because it is just reflected energy.
The reflected light from the moon has already been filtered through our atmosphere, so there isn’t as much to charge solar panels.
Sunlight is a million times stronger than moonlight!
The sun’s energy can be converted into electricity by each solar cell on the solar panel, and this process happens very efficiently because sunlight contains more photons per square meter than any other light.
The light from the moon is also much cooler than sunlight. The temperature difference between solar light and moonlight can be as high as 40 degrees Fahrenheit (22 Celsius).
This means the energy producted just isn’t enough to make it possible for solar panels to be powered by moonlight.
What About Full Moon? Is that Strong Enough to Power a Solar Panel?
The full moon is said to be the time when the moon is at its brightest. Does this mean that it can provide enough power to run a solar panel?
While there are no scientific studies that have been able to confirm this and we believe that moon light is not enough to generate power from a solar panel unless future solars panels are designed differently to maximize the light coming from the moon.
A full moon is still reflecting sunlight but the sunlight is coming from the sun, not the moon. It is like a mirror reflecting light from the sun rather than emitting its own radiation. It’s just not enough.
How Can You Make the Most of Solar Energy During Nighttime Hours?
The best thing to do is to use a solar panel that has an internal rechargeable battery. This will store energy from the sun during the day so you can still use it at night.
You can also try installing solar panels that face southwardly towards where there are no obstructions like buildings or trees blocking out the moonlight.
If you’re using your solar panel during nighttime hours, you should make sure that it’s facing towards the moon to maximize its effect.
If you live in an area where there are no obstructions like buildings or trees blocking out the light of the sun for most of each day, then this might not be necessary because those areas have less shade and more direct sunlight.
In those cases, it would be more beneficial to have a solar panel that can rotate to follow the sun’s movement throughout the day.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Using Solar Energy at Night Time?
Solar panels depend on sunlight to be effective so using them at night is immediately going to reduce their efficiency.
The disadvantage of using solar panels at night time is that the moonlight is much weaker than the sun’s light. So, you will only get a fraction of the solar energy that you would during the day.
This makes generating electricity with your solar energy system at home much more difficult.
It is usually colder at night and solar panels don’t work as well in cold weather. In fact, their efficiency can drop by up to 50% when the temperature drops below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius).
How Much Money Can You Save by Using Solar Energy at Night Time Instead of Daytime Hours?
The amount of money you can save by using solar pv panels during nighttime hours is dependent on how much power your home needs and when you use it.
If you use solar energy during the day when it’s sunny, then you will save more money than if you were using solar panels at night time instead of during daytime hours.
You will always save more money during the day than if you were using solar panels at night time instead of daytime hours.
Solar panels work in bright moonlight but at a very minimal level. The amount of solar energy you receive will be much less than what you would receive during the day.
A full moon can also produce electricity for solar panels at night time, however, this is dependent on the position of your solar panel.
Just like in cloud cover, you can generate electricity but at a very low capacity. The amount generated is so small that you may not even notice it because of how weak the solar energy is.
Artificial light is not solar energy, so solar panels will not generate any electricity when they are exposed to artificial light. Only natural sunlight can be converted into electrical power by solar panels.
At night, solar panels will generate a very small amount of solar energy. However, if there is a bright moon out then they might be able to produce enough electricity to provide some power for your home for the night.
Although solar panels will generate electricity from moonlight, it is important to consider that the amount of electricity generated will be much lower than in direct sunlight.
Have you ever wondered if solar panels work at night? Wonder no more! But what about solar cars? How do solar cars work at night? Find out by reading our post on this great question!