You may be wondering if a solar generator will get the power it needs at night or if it can be used when the sun is down. After all, the light from the moon is nothing but a reflection of the light of the sun, so it is still technically sunlight.
Theoretically, solar panels can produce solar energy at night. It is a very minimal amount, even when it is bright out such as during a full moon. It’s about the same amount you can expect to get from street lamps or small lights outside.
So this power really doesn’t amount to anything, especially not when compared to the amount of energy produced during the day and during full sun.
It’s far less efficient than even cloudy days, which can easily quarter the efficiency of your solar panels from their already low efficiency.
Why Don’t I See Any Power Coming In at Night?
Though solar generators do have the potential to produce power at night, it is very minimal. In fact, it is so low that it isn’t often very practical for the solar panels to even try.
The amount of energy needed to do the whole process and the energy lost due to having to move that energy around would mean that the panels are often spending more energy than they are producing.
To prevent you from waking up with a dead battery from your solar panels attempting to gather power all night, solar panels have a feature installed where they will go into sleep mode when there isn’t enough light to be beneficial to run.
This saves your battery and means that you will not usually see power being produced at night.
Can I Still Use My Solar Generator at Night?
Just because your solar panels don’t work doesn’t mean you can’t use your solar generator. Solar generators store power to be used when needed. This means that as long as your generator is charged up before the sun goes down, it still can be used.
How long it lasts and how much it can power overnight depends on the type and strength of the solar generator you have, and how charged the generator is.
However, this is one of the main benefits of getting a battery bank or solar generator when using solar power. When the panels can’t produce enough power due to shade, cloudy days, or at night, your battery backups can pull stored power to help you still get all the energy you need.
You will have to make sure that your batteries are recharged during the day. Once your battery is dead, you won’t be able to use it again until it is charged. This is often done with solar panels during the day.
The brighter the day, the faster the batteries recharge and are able to be used again. So while you can use your solar generator at night and they work fine, you cannot charge them or expect new power to come in at night.
There is research being done to make more efficient solar panels, which may mean that eventually the light of the moon may be enough to power solar panels, but that is still a long time out.