It is estimated that overcast clouds halve the amount of energy generated by solar panels, and thick, black clouds reduce it by 3/4. However, solar panels never completely lose their ability to generate power, as the amount of diffuse sunlight in the atmosphere is consistently enough to sustain them. Furthermore, solar panels are able to store energy from sunny days in their batteries; on cloudy days, grid-aligned systems feed energy into the grid. It is recommended that, in cloudy areas, consumers have the option for electric power in case of severe solar shortfalls; there are also the options of boosting the existing panels, or simply acquiring more panels to ensure more power is generated.
Powdrbowl is right that clouds do prevent solar panels from reaching maximum efficiency but are still useful. I currently attend Seattle University, where it is overcast 8-9 months out of the year. I thought it was strange when I first arrived that the school has solar panels, but they are still able to generate energy from their use. Though there are very few panels, the school found it was worth while to use them.
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