Do solar panels work when it’s cloudy?

The answer is yes but at reduced power. Check out this video I made yesterday showing you how much power I was getting on a very cloudy day in Seattle. I’m a super nerd I know… and this is just a temporary solar power test. I don’t recommend connecting wire like I did or didn’t do here, this was just temporary. I didn’t have my coffee before I made this video. 🙂

This was the same solar panel and battery we had before we got robbed. I took it down after that but it was attached to the shed and lighted 3 lights, charged tool batteries and ran a radio. We have never run out of power but we also didn’t have the cabin hooked up yet so we hardly used any juice. I’ll let you know how our small system does when I get the cabin wired up to make it convenient for people to use AC and DC power. Look for future posts on this, I’m planning our cabin solar system wiring diagram now and having fun doing it.

Solar Components I have so far:

2 – 75 watt solar panels (probably use just one)
1 – Group 29 Interstate Deep Cycle battery
Xantrex C40 – charge controller
3 Circuit Boat fuse panel

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4 Responses

  1. sola9986 says:

    Hi Grant, thanks for comment, I respect your knowledge and you have some great stuff on your blog. Check out his blog everyone. Been following it for a while.

    I totally agree about breaking a roof seal. That’s why I mounted the old solar setup on the side of the shed on a metal rack. Unfortunately we’ve been broken into twice now, and I expected them to come back. If I want to leave any solar components there they need to be secure or hidden actually since the thieves have all the time in the world. Hence me wanted to put them on the roof about 20 feet in the air so they won’t bother with them. I’ll let you know how it turns out, heck maybe I’ll make a video.

  2. Grant Wagner says:

    In short, no, but it’s my opinion that if you can do so, avoid roof mounts. I don’t like anything that breaks a roof, and for solar panels, cleaning and tilt adjustment should be routine maintainance which would be difficult that high up.

    I have my small system (the harbor freight kit) attached to the cheap frame it came with, which I want to put on a 2 foot tall pair of U shaped 2×4 frames. A few feet to clean any high grass or snow fall. I think that is best. It’s a project for when it finally stops raining around here.

  3. sola9986 says:

    Thanks for the comment. Great connectors. I’m still looking for a neat way to make all my connections. I’m on a budget though so I will probably end up using automotive or marine style 12v connectors. Not as cool as the links you provided but cheaper I suppose.

    Do you know anything about mounting a solar panel on a composition roof? That’s my next project and I haven’t found much information on it.

  4. Grant Wagner says:

    Howdy there, Mr. Burrito.

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now, and I really have been enjoying it. I think you’re on the right path with your solar, as I have a very similar system. The one thing I want to do different for when I actually get to building a structor is to use Anderson PowerPole components, which are common in Ham Radio.

    These are small double plug connectors which don’t depend on spring power to keep themselves in sockets, and can handle up to 45 amps, vs the 10 of the cigar style connectors. On top of that, there are already some really clean looking fuse panels and (more importantly) conventional wall plates. Check them out.

    Cover Plates:
    Fused Distribution Panels:

    Best of luck on your future endeavors.