Solar FAQ Edition: Can You Use Solar Power at Night?

solar power at night

If you’re considering using solar to power your business, you probably have a lot of questions.

That’s normal.

Since solar panels create energy from sunlight, one of the biggest questions we encounter is, “how do I get solar power at night?”

The answer may surprise you.

So Can You Get Solar Power At Night?

Well, technically, no. In the darkness, you aren’t getting power from the sun. And the sun reflecting off the moon doesn’t do it either.

But you WILL have power.

Here’s how it works:

During the day, a solar panel system absorbs energy from the sunlight known as photovoltaic energy (PV). The system converts PV to direct current (DC) power.

The DC power is then sent through an inverter in the system that converts it to alternating current (AC) power. This is the type of power on which your business runs.

And as long as those solar panels are absorbing that sunlight, you’ve got power.

But What Happens When the Sun Goes down?

Once night falls, solar panels can no longer generate electricity for your business.

But thanks to solar storage, you won’t be left in the dark.

Currently, there are two primary solutions to powering up at night with solar energy: net metering and solar-plus-storage technology.

Net Metering

When your solar panel system produces more electricity than you need during the day, the excess doesn’t go to waste. It’s fed back into the electric grid.

How?

When you use net metering, your business stays connected to the local power grid. Even after you’ve installed solar panels. Then any excess energy from your solar panels during those daylight hours is fed back into the grid.

In exchange, you receive credits for that energy from your utility provider and they’re added to your electric bill. Those credits cover the cost of the power you draw from the grid at night.

So in essence, the grid acts as a sort of solar storage system.

The same process works over the course of a year too.

For instance, you’ll probably produce a surplus of energy and earn credits during the winter months. Then when summer comes and electric bills are typically higher, you’ll use those credits.

Solar-Plus-Storage Technology

Solar-plus-storage is more simplified. And it doesn’t require you to be on the grid.

With this solution, the excess power that’s generated by your solar panels during the day is stored in a battery or other form of energy storage. Then at night, the battery takes care of your power needs.

The benefit of this is that you can also get backup batteries so you have power in case of an emergency.

What Is the Best Solution?

It’s hard to say. A lot will depend on your specific preferences.

One downside to net metering is that it’s not available everywhere. And you’re still, to some extent, relying on the grid and your local utility company to get your power.

Solar storage, on the other hand, was once too cost prohibitive for many businesses. But as the heat storage market heats up, costs are coming down.

The Time Has Come to Go Solar

Regardless of the energy storage solution you choose for getting solar power at night, you can’t go wrong using this renewable energy source.

With a solar panel system, you’ll be saving money AND the earth. So it’s a win-win.

If you’d like to find out just how much money you can save by switching to solar, contact us today. We’ll find the solar panel system that best fits your needs.