How Climate is Crucial to the Effectiveness of Solar Panels Performance

Solar power in Australia is quickly becoming popular, with more and more people turning to renewable energy every day. When investing in a solar system, it’s important to consider how crucial climate is to the effectiveness of solar panels. You need to ask yourself how weather and other climate conditions can affect your solar panels’ performance.

Today, with nature, climate change, and global warming, the climate is changing around the world, impacting solar electricity production and the amount of electricity generated from solar systems.

In this guide, we will explore how various weather conditions and climates can affect your energy output.

Solar Panel Power and The Climate

Solar power is energy created from the sun, which is then converted into thermal or electrical energy. It is one of the most abundant and reliable sources of renewable energy.

With the right positioning and in the right climate, these renewable energy sources can harness energy for a variety of domestic, commercial and industrial uses. This makes it a practical solution for residents in Australia, as the country experiences an abundance of sunlight and heat. Residents can save on their electricity bills and reduce their nonrenewable energy consumption, which is beneficial for the environment.

Photovoltaic panels function optimally under direct sunlight. So, simply experiencing high temperatures doesn’t always result in increased solar panel performance. This is because solar panels soak up solar power from the sun and not the sun’s heat.

For this reason, it is crucial to understand how climate impacts the effectiveness of solar panels. Levels of sunlight, different seasons, and inclement weather will all affect your solar panel’s performance. Below, we explore all these external factors and how they affect solar power generation.

How Climate Affects Solar Energy Performance

The Best Temperature for Solar Panels

Like most other electronics, solar panels are more efficient in colder temperatures. This allows the panel to produce a higher voltage, thereby creating more electricity. With rising temperatures, the solar panel will generate far less voltage. This makes it less efficient and results in less electricity output.

Despite being more efficient in cooler weather, this doesn’t necessarily mean that your solar panels will produce more electricity in winter than in summer.

Realistically, the sunniest weather usually has the highest temperatures and fewer clouds. Therefore, even though your solar panels are slightly less efficient in hotter weather, they will still produce more electricity as they see more direct sunlight.

Can Solar Panels Get Too Hot?

Some sunlight that is absorbed by the solar panels will be converted into heat, causing the panels to get warmer. In cases where the average air temperature gets too high, then you may see some negative effects on your solar system.

Solar panels in Australia are tested at 25°C. As the panel’s temperature rises, the system’s overall solar panel efficiency will drop. As a result, your solar panels will produce less energy. The percentage of efficiency that the solar panel decreases will be based on the system.

Some manufacturers have created their panels specifically for the local climate in Australia. As such, Australian-made panels often have a lower temperature coefficient than others. This helps to ensure that they still operate efficiently in hotter temperatures.

Do Solar Panels Work in Cloudy Weather?

Anything that blocks your panels from the sun reduces the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the panels. Thus, it will reduce the amount of energy your solar panels produce. This includes clouds, fog, or shade from a tree. Depending on how thick the cloud cover is, your panels will likely still generate electricity – just not as much as usual.

On those partly cloudy days, your solar energy production can decrease between 10-25%, depending on how fluffy the clouds in the sky are.

However, sometimes the fluffy cumulus clouds can act as a magnifying glass, resulting in stronger beams hitting your panels. This can lead to a slight increase in electricity production.

On overcast days, a quick way to check that your system is producing ample energy is to look for shadows outside. If any objects are casting a shadow, it means that there is some sunlight getting through. So, your system is likely producing some energy. But, if there are no shadows and the cloud coverage is too thick, your system probably won’t produce much electricity.

It’s estimated that your panels will produce around 10-30% of electricity on cloudy or overcast days.

Do Solar Panels Work in the Rain?

Rain has no impact on your solar panels, despite rain clouds reducing your energy production. Heavier rainstorms can be good for your system’s production as it’s a safe and natural way to clean your panels.

Heavier and more persistent rainstorms can help remove layers of dirt or dust covering your panels, which could possibly be blocking out sunlight.

Do Solar Panels Work In Snow?

Depending on where you live in Australia, you may wonder whether snow will affect your solar panel’s energy output.  Thick layers of snow can prevent your solar panels from working optimally as it prevents sunlight from hitting the panels.

However, keep in mind that many solar panels have dark or reflective glass, which speeds up snow melting. Based on the weather conditions after the snow as well as the angle tilt of your panels, this snow should easily melt off your panels.

What Is A Solar Battery And Do I Need It?

During the colder winters, your grid may be subject to wear and tear. In areas where you experience power outages or have limited access to direct sunlight, we recommend that you invest in a grid-connected, rooftop solar panel system with battery storage.

This will provide a clean and renewable backup electricity source. It will ensure that you are never left in the dark during any power outages. By pairing your panels up with a reliable solar battery, you will easily be able to save electricity for stormy days.

The Effects of Other Extreme Weather Conditions on Solar Panel Systems

Depending on your location, there may be other critical weather conditions to take into consideration. For the Australian climate, we have considered the following:


Given the recent bushfire crisis across Australia, it’s important to understand the effects this may have on your solar systems. Historically, bushfires in Australia have had significant impacts on rooftop photovoltaic power output.

Solar monitoring devices noted up to 30% production loss due to the build-up of ash particles and dust on solar panels. Even just a light dusting of ash can have a significant effect on the amount of solar radiation received by the panels. Increased smoke density also blocks out sunlight to a certain extent.

To restore your production levels after a bushfire, you need to clean your panels. You can either hire a professional or clean them yourself. But, in some cases, it’s best to simply wait for the rain to naturally clean the panels.


Hail can be quite problematic for Australian homeowners. A solar panel system is usually made from tempered glass, which is designed to withstand hailstones on most occasions. However, poor quality solar panels can be susceptible to damage. And the reality is that you are unlikely to find a solar system that is completely indestructible.

If you are in a location that experiences frequent hailstorms, we suggest investing in high-quality panels. According to Australian standards, solar panels must be able to withstand the direct impact of hailstones with a diameter of 35mm or the size of a golf ball.

Hailstones larger than this can result in broken or damaged panels, so it is crucial to check and double-check your home, your system and your insurance before investing.

Cyclones and Strong Winds

If you live in an area that has a lot of rough wind or cyclones, we recommend you invest in extra secure mounting. However, it is still difficult to know what kind of damage a cyclone can inflict.

We suggest using extreme wind or rain as an indication of how durable your panels are. In most extreme weather scenarios, it’s not the actual panels that are the problem. It’s more about the direct impact of wind on the panels at the angle they are mounted at.

Here are six factors that can affect your solar panel performance in extreme wind conditions:

  • Type and size of the panel
  • Type of mounting
  • Type of roof
  • Roof height
  • Inclination
  • Tilt

When installing solar panels, a reliable professional will consider all of these factors.

Final Thoughts

With the rise of climate change and concerns surrounding fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions, solar power systems are becoming more popular than ever. However, it’s important to understand how climate is a crucial factor in the effectiveness of solar panels before investing in them.

Luckily, Australia offers the perfect climate. You can rest assured that you will be able to generate various levels of electricity throughout the year – come rain or shine.

Still have some questions you need answered before installing solar panels? Contact Renew Energy today to get started on your solar power journey!