Traditionally, solar panels require one key factor to function effectively: sunlight. This factor once limited who could use solar panels in their homes and businesses to people who lived in notoriously sunny states, such as Florida and California. Now, with modern technology, even those who live in mostly cloudy environments—like Seattle—can enjoy the benefits of solar energy. Because solar panels are affordable and eco-friendly, they are widely used all over the world as a renewable, alternative source of energy. They can be used for both powering and heating your home.

Even if you don’t live in sunshine year round, you can still invest in renewable energy to not only save money on your electricity bill, but to also reduce your carbon footprint. In this article, we rank the top five solar panels that will work in cloudy weather: the ACOPOWER 120W, the BigBlue 100W, the SUNGOLDPOWER 100W, the TWELSEAVAN 120W, and the TWELSEAVAN 100W. We’ve researched today’s modern solar panels and have deemed these the top five due to their reputation, productivity, and results. If you’re considering converting to solar energy, use this review to check out each solar panel’s pros and cons, as well as the best features each one has to offer.

How Do Solar Panels Work on Cloudy Days?

Traditional solar panels need sunlight to work properly. With the help of the photovoltaic effect, solar panels directly absorb sunlight to generate power. These panels consist of photovoltaic (PV) cells that transform sunlight into energy. Then, the panel’s PV modules generate electricity and supply it to the batteries that store it. Because solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, sunlight is vital for effective power generation.

The bottom line is that traditional solar panels don’t generate enough power if there is insufficient sunlight. However, with modern technology, that’s no longer a problem. Researchers have developed black silicon solar cells that absorb more light and produce more energy than conventional solar panels. As a result, you can now find upgraded solar panels that generate power—even under cloudy skies.

Most of theses modern solar panels either use wafer crystalline silicon cells—or thin-film cells—that help the panel convert solar power into energy. Then, the cells transmit the energy for storage. Without proper protection, moisture can damage conventional panels. However, these new solar panel systems carry a junction box at the back of the panel that works as an output interface. Consequently, this makes the panels weatherproof and durable.

The 3 Types of Modern Solar Panels That Withstand Cloudy Weather

There are three broad categories of modern solar panels that will generate energy for your home or business without having to rely solely on an abundance of sunlight. The three categories include monocrystalline solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels, and thin-film amorphous silicon solar panels. If you’re in the market for an advanced solar panel system, you should look into all three of these categories and decide which one suits your needs for solar energy the best. Below, you will see a breakdown of the difference between each type of solar panel, what they need to work, and the benefits that they provide.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels Have the Highest Efficiency Rate

Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient type of solar panel. These products are top of the line because of their 20% efficiency rate—the highest of all solar panels. Monocrystalline solar panels, which have a black tint, are the best option for commercial use, and they are acknowledged for their sleek, appealing look. Although it is an expensive solar panel, it gives maximum performance no matter what the outdoor conditions are, so you will never have to worry about losing productivity due to the weather. As implied by its name, the cells of a monocrystalline solar panel consist of one single silicon crystal. This composition is what makes monocrystalline solar panels more effective than polycrystalline solar panels.

Polycrystalline Solar Panels Are Sensitive to High Temperatures

Polycrystalline solar panels are another good option to consider when looking for solar panels. Slightly less efficient than monocrystalline solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels offer an efficiency rate of 15%. If you have a smaller budget but don’t want to compromise quality, you will most likely find solar panels in this category. Polycrsytalline solar panels tend to have a slightly blue tint and are relatively cheaper than other types of solar panels. However, you should be aware of some of its downfalls. Polycrystalline solar panels are sensitive to high temperatures, require a lot of space, and have lower longevity.

Thin-Film Amorphous Silicon Solar Panels Are the Cheapest Option

Thin-film amorphous silicon solar panels are the third type of solar panel that work well in cloudy weather. Thin-film amorphous silicon solar panels are commonly used, come at a low cost, and offer an efficiency of 10%—the lowest efficiency of all solar panels. Despite the fact that they are the most affordable option, they also tend to have a shorter warranty and lifespan. Not only can you use the thin-film amorphous silicon material for solar panels at home, but you can also use them for solar energy for boating, camping, and charges for electric vehicles.

5 Solar Panels That Will Generate Energy Despite Cloudy Skies

These five solar panels work on cloudy days and are great for both personal and commercial use. This list includes the ACOPOWER 120W, the BigBlue 100W, the SUNGOLDPOWER 100W, the TWELSEAVAN 120W, and the TWELSEAVAN 100W. Before you purchase a solar panel, take a look at each product, its features, and its benefits. Additionally, you should consider the most important requirements that you need your solar panels to meet, whether it be high efficiency, longevity, or price. Then, determine which one will give you the best quality and productivity for your budget.

Best Overall
Our Score 9.6 Out of 10
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Best Mid Range
Our Score 9.2 Out of 10
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Cheaper Choice
Our Score 8.8 Out of 10
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Our Score 8.6 Out of 10
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Our Score 8.0 Out of 10
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ACOPOWER 120W Mono Lightweight Solar Panel

Our Score 9.6 out of 10
ACOPOWER 120W Mono Lightweight Portable Solar Panel Kit 2Pcs 60W Solar Suitcase, Waterproof 20A 12V/24V LCD Charge Controller for Both 12V Battery and Generator (New Launched)
ACOPOWER 120W Mono Lightweight Portable Solar Panel Kit 2Pcs 60W Solar Suitcase, Waterproof 20A 12V/24V LCD Charge Controller for Both 12V Battery and Generator (New Launched) amazon.com Check price

Light and portable: the net weight is only 14 lb; Folded size: 24.21 x 20.27 x 1.97 inches. Ideal output: 600 Watt hours per day (depends on sunlight availability)
Easy Set-up: pre-installed stand ...

ACOPOWER offers a compact and portable 120W Mono Light Solar Panel Kit that provides enough electricity to keep essential electronics at your home running smoothly. It comes into two pieces of 60W, and each is incorporated on a panel that you can fold up like a suitcase and take anywhere you need. Additionally, it carries a protective waterproof covering that makes it durable and useable in rainy weather.

The best thing about this solar panel is that it is lightweight and portable, which allows users to pack it up and transport it anywhere. It takes only two minutes to set it up, and it offers a pre-install stand to place on any surface. It also comes with MC-4 connectors and an Anderson plug that allows easy installation and connection to the battery. The ACOPOWER 120W is ideal for campers and travelers who love to spend their time in nature and want a portable, green source of energy.

The solar panel offers wider compatibility because it can power up different devices. Furthermore, it allows users to connect with different types of batteries, such as Lithium-ion, AGM, LifePO4, LTO, and Fel. It incorporates features that make it an ideal solar panel for multiple purposes. Although it’s a smart solar panel, you can run large applications and install more solar plates like these to get better results. This ACOPOWER portable panel works even better when it’s too cloudy because it only needs daylight to generate electricity.

Furthermore, this solar panel facilitates an integrated method of control, making it flexible for consumers to use the panel. This solar panel stands out from the rest of the competitors because it includes 50A Anderson Connector, whereas other companies only offer 25A connectors. The 120W solar panel comes with a charge controller that can be expandable up to 240W when needed. There’s no doubt that this solar panel is reliable and durable. The ACOPOWER solar panel is worth the price. It is your best companion if you are planning to go on a long trip. It’s 100% reliable and comes with a high-quality setup.

Pros
  • Small and portable
  • Easy to set up
  • Smart and reliable
  • Good performance for small applications
Cons
  • High-powered appliances need more panels
  • Dust can lower the overall power

BigBlue 100W Solar Panel Kit

Our Score 9.2 out of 10
BigBlue 100W Portable Solar Panels Kit with PD Type C, Dual USB Ports(Fast Charging) and 18V DC Output, Solar Phone Charger for Power Station, iPhone, iPad, Some Laptops, Camera, GPS etc.
BigBlue 100W Portable Solar Panels Kit with PD Type C, Dual USB Ports(Fast Charging) and 18V DC Output, Solar Phone Charger for Power Station, iPhone, iPad, Some Laptops, Camera, GPS etc. amazon.com Check price

100W Solar Panel Charger: BigBlue solar charger comes with an adapter kit of 10 connectors to support BigBlue or other brand power stations through its included DC port or the DC to Anderson cable....

BigBlue is another reliable brand that offers a foldable solar panel kit with PD 60W Type C. It is a small, reliable, and portable solar panel kit that easily fits in your backpack. The solar panel incorporates dual USB ports that allow fast charging with 18V DC Output. Also, it offers a portable power station that fulfills the basic charging needs for laptops, cameras, phone devices, and GPS units.

It’s a 100W solar panel that comes with 10 connectors that support BigBlue and other power stations through a DC port and Anderson cable. It is quite effective to power up your devices without relying on grid electricity, and most importantly, it’s a clean source of energy. This solar panel has a smart charging technology that ensures the safe flow of energy through its USB ports, avoiding overcharging with short circuit protection. Its high-efficiency solar arrays offer a performance of up to 21 to 23%. This solar panel also only needs daylight to provide electricity so you can use it even when it’s cloudy.

Additionally, it has five adjustable kickstands that let the panels stand at a particular angle to get optimal sunshine for better charging. It carries 60W PD Type-C power delivery, making it compatible with most of the devices. Certainly, this is a high energy conversion solar panel that is reliable and powerful. Moreover, this is a monocrystalline solar panel that offers extended longevity. Since this is a folding solar panel, it can be packed to go camping, hiking, or hunting. Who needs any other solar panel when you have BigBlue solar panel that has smart features and generates electricity smartly?

Pros
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Foldable solar panel
  • Offers wider compatibility
Cons
  • Dust sometimes can lower efficiency
  • Dark cloudy conditions may affect its performance

SUNGOLDPOWER 200W Solar Panel

Our Score 8.8 out of 10
SUNGOLDPOWER Solar Panel 200W 24V Monocrystalline Solar Panel 200 Watt Solar Module Grade A Solar Cell
SUNGOLDPOWER Solar Panel 200W 24V Monocrystalline Solar Panel 200 Watt Solar Module Grade A Solar Cell amazon.com Check price

1.The long-lasting 200W monocrystalline solar cells, the waterproof design ensures that the panel can be used in all weather conditions.
2.Solar panels are designed for industrial and professional ...

SUNGOLDPOWER introduces a 200W 24V monocrystalline solar panel with a waterproof design that makes it ideal for all types of weather conditions. This solar panel is great for industrial and professional use because of its scratch-resistant anodized aluminum with a twin-wall frame. Its sturdy aluminum frame ensures durability and a long power supply for basic needs.

The solar panel carries a monocrystalline PV panel with high conversion efficient cells that allow maximum output, even in tough weather conditions. The solar panel offers a one-piece frame with 72 monocrystalline pieces, providing energy to high-powered appliances. It’s easy to install because it comes with a pre-drilled hole. The solar panel weighs a few pounds and is perfect to use for a caravan, electric car, boat, RV, and outdoor use overall.

It caters to diverse industries and commercial units, providing an alternative source of cheap, clean energy. This is a high-powered solar panel that provides more electricity due to its five large modules. Manufactured with A-GRADE solar cells, this SUNGOLDPOWER solar panel can fulfill all of your power needs.

Pros
  • Easy to use and install
  • Sturdy frame and durable
  • Excellent design
  • A-Grade solar cells
Cons
  • Comes at a higher pice

TWELSEAVAN 120W Solar Panel

Our Score 8.6 out of 10
TwelSeavan Portable Solar Panel Charger, 120W Foldable Solar Panel for Jackery 160/240/500/1000 Power Station, Suaoki/Goal Zero Yeti/Rockpals Solar Generator, with Kickstand, USB QC3.0, Type C
TwelSeavan Portable Solar Panel Charger, 120W Foldable Solar Panel for Jackery 160/240/500/1000 Power Station, Suaoki/Goal Zero Yeti/Rockpals Solar Generator, with Kickstand, USB QC3.0, Type C amazon.com Check price

✅【HIGH CONVERSION EFFICIENCY】Constructed form high-efficiency monocrystalline solar cells, with efficiencies of up to 23%, convert more solar power into usable energy, which enables higher power ge...

TWELSEAVAN introduces another 120W portable solar panel that is foldable and easily taken anywhere. It incorporates high-efficiency monocrystalline solar cells that give efficiency up to 21 to 23% and generate more power for using clean energy. Though the solar panel doesn’t have a large size, it still generates sufficient energy that serves various needs. The solar panel is highly compatible and includes 10 different DC connectors, making it the most portable and compatible on the market.

This provides a C4 connector cable that can be used with portable power stations. Also, the solar panel equips four-port smart charging technology, including one DC port, two USB ports for QC3, and USB-C. It also carries a built-in smart IC chip that atomically adjusts the current. This solar panel is capable of charging four times better than other solar panels. It provides efficient charging for smartphones, all types of cameras, all types of laptops, and other electronic devices.

Moreover, the solar panel offers industrial-strength PET polymer that makes it ultra-durable and weather-resistant. It is lightweight, ultra-portable, and well designed. It features rubber handles that make it easy to carry. If you are looking for an efficient solar panel, then look no further. This solar panel model offers great features and generates better energy than most other products. It also has high ratings, with a 100% customer satisfaction ratio.

Pros
  • Quick and Smart Charging
  • Efficient and affordable solar panel
  • Portable and durable
  • Excellent quality
Cons
  • Relative new on the market

TWELSEAVAN 100W Solar Panel

Our Score 8.0 out of 10
TWELSEAVAN 100W Portable Foldable Solar Panel Charger for Jackery Explorer 160/240/500 Power Station/Suaoki/Goal Zero Yeti/Rockpals/Kyng Power Solar Generator, with USB QC3.0 Port, USB Type C Port
TWELSEAVAN 100W Portable Foldable Solar Panel Charger for Jackery Explorer 160/240/500 Power Station/Suaoki/Goal Zero Yeti/Rockpals/Kyng Power Solar Generator, with USB QC3.0 Port, USB Type C Port amazon.com Check price

✅【HIGH CONVERSION EFFICIENCY】Constructed form high-efficiency monocrystalline solar cells, with efficiencies as high as 23%, which can convert more solar power into usable energy.
✅【UPGRADE 4-PORT ...

TWELSEAVAN brings a 100W foldable solar panel that has a sturdy frame and is highly efficient. It incorporates monocrystalline solar cells on the panel that makes it efficient up to 21-23% in energy conversion. The best thing about the TWELSEAVAN is its four0port smart charging technology that makes this device diverse and functional to charge multiple devices. With 10 different sizes of DC connectors, the device becomes highly compatible with most solar generators. The solar panel is designed to power up high-powered devices with its 120W power output.

It carries different ports for charging including 1 USC-C PD port, 1-DC port, 1-USB QC2 port, and IC chip port. It’s ideal for travelers who love hiking and visiting remote areas and need a solar device that can work in cloudy conditions. You can use the solar panel for unexpected power outages and provide an alternative source of green energy to charge your smart devices conveniently.

This versatile and portable solar panel from TCXWPOWER is what you need to lighten up your dark nights even you are away from the home. You can easily charge and use your electronic essentials with this great solar panel. Its great features, portability, and reasonable price make it worth buying.

Pros
  • Efficient solar panel
  • Equips adjustable kickstand
  • Quick charging
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Not suitable to run high-powered devices
  • Some cables are sold separately

How Efficient Can I Expect My Solar Panel to Be on a Cloudy Day?

An advancement in technology has improved solar panels to more be efficient without relying too heavily on sunlight. If you purchase the right solar panel, it will be able to generate energy effectively, despite the cloudy weather. It’s true that you will get a higher efficiency rate when the sonar panels are exposed to a lot of sunlight, but advanced solar panels can also use daylight to generate energy.

In fact, some solar panels, like polycrystalline solar panels, will burn out and generate little energy if they are exposed to too much sunlight. For instance, in places like Las Vegas, where the sun is immensely bright, solar energy is not as popular. However, in places like San Francisco, where there is a good mixture of sunlight and clouds, solar energy is becoming more efficient and popular.

The efficiency rate that your solar panel provides depends on the type, brand, and model of the solar panel. Keep in mind that monocrystalline solar panels produce the highest efficiency rate, with an average of 20%. Though these solar panels are the most expensive, in general, the price of solar energy has decreased, opening up the opportunity for more and more people to convert to affordable renewable energy. Other solar panels can produce an efficiency rate of anywhere between 10 and 15%. Because this is not quite as high, consider using these types of solar panels for small kitchen appliances or camping gear.

Will the Rain and Snow Affect My Solar Panels?

With cloudy days also comes rain. Not only will your solar panels be able to generate energy in cloudy weather, but they will also be able to function in the rain. In fact, modern solar panels are built to be weatherproof and durable to other factors like wind and hail. Furthermore, the rain will help maintain the solar panels by keeping them clean and washing away debris. If you live in an area that has a long rain season, you might notice a slight decrease in efficiency and production, but you will still be able to use your solar panels effectively. You can also expect the same affect when it snows. Snow will not have an affect on your solar panels or cause damage. Typically, it will melt away instantly without any problems.

Conclusion

In the past, solar energy could only be generated through ample sunlight. Now, with upgraded technology, modern solar panels can function just as well—if not better—in cloudy weather conditions. Solar panels are a perfect source of clean and efficient energy. Not only do they help reduce your carbon footprint, but they also help you save money on electricity. When looking at solar panels , there are various options to choose from. Each solar panel comes with its own unique features and produces its own efficiency rate. Additionally, these solar panels are weatherproof and durable, meaning they will be able to withstand rain, snow, and heavy winds.

In this article we named the top five solar panels that generate energy in cloudy weather. These top solar panels include the ACOPOWER 120W, the BigBlue 100W, the SUNGOLDPOWER 100W, the TWELSEAVAN 120W, and the TWELSEAVAN 100W. All of the solar panels we have reviewed above are great options because they are portable and reliable panels that you can set up in remote locations. Whether it’s for clean energy or emergency back-up, these panels offer high performance and durability. Although they cost money up front, you will be able to save money in the long run.