Given that solar power is generated only when the sun shines, it is obvious that solar panels cannot generate power at night.

There is still a way that you can use power generated from sunlight at night. How?

If you use batteries to store the solar power generated during the day, you can use that energy during the night. Thus, technically, you are using solar power to provide electricity at night. Note however that extensive use of batteries can significantly increase the cost of solar power. A 2 hour backup can increase the cost of solar power by 20%; a battery back-up of 4 hours or more could increase your solar plant’s cost by about 50%.

There’s another way you can “virtually” use solar power at night. This can be through what are called Net Metering schemes provided by your state electricity utility. Under such a scheme, any excess solar power you generate during the day and export to the grid can be adjusted against your consumption of grid power, even if it is at night.


Stuff to Remember

The only way you can directly use solar power at night is through the use of batteries. But batteries, owing to their cost, are not economically viable except for small installations.