Low Light Irradiance

What are Low Light Solar Panels?

Low Light Solar Panels are panels that work in low-light environments like indoor areas. In 1991, chemist Michael Graetzel of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne invented a different type of solar cell called dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) that work best in dim light and are cheaper than the standard semiconductors which are silicon in the case of solar cells. However, when exposed to normal day sunlight the DSSCs solar cells can only convert 14% of the energy in sunlight to electricity but on the other side traditional solar cells convert about 24% that’s because the light energy comes too fast for DSSCs to capture.

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What are the advantages and disadvantages of Low Light Solar Panels?


  • 1-Efficiency: Low Light Solar Panels are more efficient than all traditional solar panels as they can reach an efficiency of up to 30% in low-light areas making them very competitive with other types of solar panels.
  • 2-Amount of light: Low Light Solar Panels can work from a very small amount of light for example the light from your light bulb or weak reflections of the normal sunlight.


  • 1-Normal Sunlight: Low Light Solar Panels can’t reach conversion efficiency with normal direct sunlight like other solar panels because they can only convert 14% when they are exposed to direct sunlight. That’s because it can only absorb low-speed light energy which can convert it with high efficiency.
  • 2- Stability: Low Light Solar Panels are not yet that stable as researchers see that they need more time to bring such panels to the market in commercial quantities.

What are the use cases of Low Light Solar Panels?

  • 1-Indoors: Low Light Solar Panels can capture light from indoor areas that are enough for humans to see and can be also converted to energy making this type of solar panel work at different times of the day.
  • 2- Covered Areas: Low Light Solar Panels can work in places that are covered with sheds or anything because Low Light Solar Panels can work with the least amount of light available to convert it into electricity making these places good for harvesting electricity from low light.

What is Low Light Irradiance?

Low Light Irradiance, often referred to as LLI, is a remarkable feature integrated into solar panels to enhance their performance under challenging environmental conditions. To grasp the significance of LLI, let's break down its fundamental components:
  • Low Light: This refers to conditions when the sun's intensity is minimal, such as during early mornings, late evenings, cloudy days, or when solar panels are exposed to partial shading. In these situations, the amount of sunlight reaching the panels is significantly reduced.
  • Irradiance: Irradiance measures the amount of solar energy (in the form of sunlight) that strikes a specific surface area, typically expressed in watts per square meter (W/m²). Solar panels convert irradiance into electricity.
Low Light Irradiance, therefore, encompasses the capability of solar panels to maintain high energy production even when subjected to low light conditions. This feature is a game-changer for the solar industry, as it extends the hours of energy generation and increases overall system efficiency.

Benefits and Advantages of Low Light Irradiance

Extending Operational Hours

One of the primary benefits of Low Light Irradiance is its ability to extend the operational hours of solar panels. Traditional solar panels perform optimally during peak sunlight hours. However, LLI-equipped panels continue to generate power even in low-light conditions, effectively extending the period of energy production. This means that you can harness the power of the sun from dawn to dusk and even on cloudy days, making your solar installation more reliable.

Increased Energy Yield

Low Light Irradiance significantly boosts the energy yield of a solar installation. In areas with frequent cloud cover or where shading is unavoidable, the impact of this feature is particularly pronounced. By capturing more energy during low light periods, LLI-equipped panels can increase the overall energy output of a solar system, providing more electricity for your needs or for grid export.

Enhanced Reliability

Reliability is a crucial factor in the solar industry. Low Light Irradiance contributes to the overall reliability of a solar system by reducing the dependence on optimal sunlight conditions. This feature ensures that your solar installation continues to perform, even during suboptimal weather conditions, making it a highly dependable source of clean energy.

Better ROI

From an economic perspective, the advantages of Low Light Irradiance are compelling. The increased energy yield and extended operational hours translate into a better return on investment (ROI) for solar installations. By generating more energy and ensuring consistent performance, LLI-equipped panels help you recoup your investment sooner and continue to save on electricity costs over the long term.

Environmental Benefits

Solar energy is renowned for its environmental benefits, and LLI further enhances this aspect. By generating more energy from the same solar panels, you reduce the need for additional resources and decrease your carbon footprint. Low Light Irradiance is a win-win for both your wallet and the environment.

Techniques Employed by Solar Manufacturers

The implementation of Low Light Irradiance is a result of innovative techniques and technologies employed by solar manufacturers. While specific methods may vary from one manufacturer to another, some common approaches include:

Advanced Photovoltaic Materials

Solar manufacturers invest in advanced photovoltaic materials that can capture and convert a broader spectrum of light into electricity. These materials have a higher quantum efficiency, ensuring that even under low-light conditions, they can maintain a respectable level of energy production.

Bifacial Solar Panels

Bifacial solar panels have gained popularity due to their ability to capture sunlight from both the front and rear sides. This design allows them to generate electricity not only from direct sunlight but also from reflected and diffused light. Bifacial panels are often equipped with Low Light Irradiance technology, making them a preferred choice for installations in challenging lighting environments.

Optimized Panel Design

The design of the solar panel itself plays a crucial role in Low Light Irradiance. Panel manufacturers optimize the design to minimize energy loss during low-light periods. This includes reducing shading losses, improving the overall efficiency of the panel, and enhancing its performance under non-ideal conditions.

Advanced Electronics

The incorporation of advanced electronics, including maximum power point tracking (MPPT) systems, can significantly improve the performance of solar panels under low light conditions. These systems adjust the electrical characteristics of the panel to maximize power output, even when sunlight is limited.

Applications of Low Light Irradiance

The versatility of Low Light Irradiance technology allows it to be applied across a wide range of solar installations, catering to various needs and environments. Some key applications include:

Residential Solar Systems

In residential solar installations, Low Light Irradiance ensures that homeowners can reap the benefits of solar energy, even during early mornings, late afternoons, and overcast days. This technology maximizes the energy output of rooftop solar panels, making them more attractive to homeowners looking to save on their energy bills.

Commercial and Industrial Solar

Commercial and industrial facilities often have substantial energy demands. Low Light Irradiance enables these facilities to harness solar power consistently, thereby reducing energy costs and contributing to their sustainability goals.

Utility-Scale Solar Farms

Utility-scale solar farms span vast areas and encounter various lighting conditions. The inclusion of Low Light Irradiance technology in these installations boosts their overall energy production, ensuring a consistent and reliable energy supply to the grid.

Off-Grid and Remote Applications

In off-grid and remote locations, solar power can be a lifeline. Low Light Irradiance ensures that these installations continue to function even in areas with intermittent sunlight, such as remote weather stations, telecommunications equipment, and rural electrification projects.

How to Check Whether a Solar Panel Has Low Light Irradiance

As a solar installer, procurement manager, or EPC professional, it's essential to know how to identify whether a solar panel is equipped with Low Light Irradiance. Here are some key steps to follow:

1. Manufacturer's Documentation

Start by reviewing the manufacturer's documentation. Most reputable solar panel manufacturers provide detailed specifications for their products, including information about the inclusion of Low Light Irradiance technology. Look for technical data sheets and product manuals, which often highlight this feature.

2. Product Labeling

Examine the solar panel for any labels or markings that indicate the presence of Low Light Irradiance. Manufacturers sometimes include specific logos or symbols to differentiate panels with this technology from standard ones.

3. Contact the Manufacturer or Supplier

If you're uncertain about a panel's features, don't hesitate to reach out to the manufacturer or supplier. They can provide you with information about the specific product and clarify any questions you may have regarding the presence of Low Light Irradiance.

4. Compare Specifications

Compare the specifications of different panels from the same or different manufacturers. Panels with Low Light Irradiance typically have higher energy yield figures or performance ratings in low-light conditions. By comparing the specs, you can identify panels with superior low-light performance.

5. Seek Professional Advice

Consult with experts in the field of solar installation and technology. They can offer guidance on recognizing panels with Low Light Irradiance and provide valuable insights into the latest industry developments.   In conclusion, Low Light Irradiance is a game-changing feature that enhances the performance of solar panels in challenging lighting conditions. Its benefits extend to extended operational hours, increased energy yield, enhanced reliability, improved ROI, and environmental benefits. Solar manufacturers employ various techniques to incorporate this feature, including advanced photovoltaic materials, bifacial panel designs, optimized panel layouts, and advanced electronics.   Low Light Irradiance finds application in residential, commercial, industrial, and utility-scale solar installations, as well as off-grid and remote applications. To identify whether a solar panel has this feature, consult the manufacturer's documentation, check for specific labeling, contact the manufacturer or supplier, compare specifications, and seek professional advice.   Embracing Low Light Irradiance technology is a significant step towards making solar energy more accessible, reliable, and efficient. As solar industry professionals, understanding and harnessing this feature can propel your solar installations to new heights, delivering clean, sustainable energy to the world.