Will My Solar Panels Work at Night?

While it may seem contradictory for your solar panels to work when the sun is down, it’s not entirely impossible. Using secondary machinery to collect excess resources during the day helps ensure that you have enough energy to power appliances and systems at night.

Nighttime can have an influence on solar panels the same way as daytime. The temperature difference can play a key role in creating energy.

With extra equipment, it’s easy to ensure that power can still be collected and stored to make the energy last through the night.

In this article, we’ll be looking into how nighttime affects solar panels, methods to collect extra energy, and how solar panels work.

How Night Time Impacts Solar Energy

Solar panels often generate energy at night as well. Although it may seem impractical at first, you can take the advantage of temperature difference to ensure electricity production, enough to power mobile or small appliances that don’t need solar inverters. These appliances can be powered with a direct current without the need to convert it to alternate current first.

A study by Stanford University, California, made it possible to convert temperature into electricity using a ‘thermoelectric generator’ device that can detect currents from temperature differences.

When you point the device towards the sky at night, it generates an amount of 50W per square meter, roughly 0.04 percent of the power a solar cell generates during the daytime. By this definition, solar panels and their variants can produce energy when the sun is down.

Using equipment that can store the extra energy during the day is also essential to ensure that you have enough energy to power appliances through the night.

Full Energy Offset From Solar

Since solar energy production is only practical during the day, some form of energy banking is necessary. This can be done in two ways, specifically net metering and solar battery, both of which are designed to store the extra energy in a safe space. From there, the energy is used to power appliances at night.

Using these methods, electricity companies settle credit and debit. If you produce extra energy that goes to the electrical grid, you get a lower electric bill, saving money and preventing energy from going to waste. 

The credit of power resources from this collection equipment is then balanced at the end of the month, allowing owners to rely on the batteries to ensure that the power is stored and settled once a year during a true-up period.

Even thermal banking is used to heat molten salt and discharge energy at night. This is useful for generating electricity from heat even when the sun down.

Methods of Storing Energy

Here are the two known appliances or machinery that can help store excess energy in the power grid for use later on in the night to power appliances:

  • Net Meter

Net metering is enabled when the solar panel installation is connected to the electric grid. It allows the energy to be stored in an area through which the electricity bill can help determine how much you’ve credited from the electrical grid. While your appliances run on daytime energy, at night time, you can use the excess solar energy stored in the electrical grid to power the appliances through the night. 

Financially, credit is considered when you use the excess energy stored in the grid. Therefore the bill you receive revolves around using excess energy from the electrical grid.

Net metering, known for its efficiency, allows the credits to cover most of the cost of crediting the energy excess stored in the electrical grid. 

  • Solar Battery

Installing a solar battery allows the energy to be stored in your own house rather than an electrical company’s power grid. Solar battery storage is a solar panel secondary to the primary one installed; it indirectly stores the power used at night.

It works as a night shift, filling the battery from solar energy to meet power needs later on. This method helps ensure lower electric bills compared to the net metering method.

It gives you control over how you manage your electrical finances. A battery backup during day time is essential to ensure that power stays on during the whole night.


Whether it’s a sunny or rainy day, backup power is essential to get through the day and night. While investing in solar panels, it’s worth deciding which method of storing energy makes the most sense for your home or business.