During the solar maximum do solar panels benefit from a measurable increase in power output?

Clouds and weather conditions certainly contribute to ups and downs in power output, but on average do we generally see a measurable increase during the years when the sun is at the maximum of its (on average) 11 year cycle?

"During solar maximum, ... the solar irradiance output grows by about 0.07%" 1

"Grand solar maxima have shown some correlation with global and regional climate changes." 1

  • \$\begingroup\$ Seeing as weather/climate tends to vary by a lot more than 0.07% you would probably need to measure over many 11 year cycles to be able to isolate the effect of solar output. \$\endgroup\$ May 27, 2021 at 20:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ True, but the implicit assumption that a 0.07% change in irradiance leads to a 0.07% change in power output is probably wrong. The relationship is likely to be non-linear so it may have a smaller or larger effect than anticipated. \$\endgroup\$
    – F Chopin
    May 27, 2021 at 20:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think almost any conceivable change would be hard to measure without many decades of data. \$\endgroup\$ May 27, 2021 at 20:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Measurement accuracy would be better on a simple PD than a PV but 0.1% benefit is not significant. \$\endgroup\$ May 27, 2021 at 20:41

1 Answer 1


The solar panels are by no means a measurement device. They are designed for efficiency and not for reproducibility of the result.

A particular panel can (and unfortunately, will) decrease its efficiency by 5..10% just because of aging during a single solar cycle. This alone will not allow you to see the solar cycle pattern even in space.

A solar panel's output depends on temperature. The derating coefficient is 0.3..0.5% per degree Celsius. The recent global trend is likely 0.3..0.4 degC per decade (and a solar cycle is almost a decade).

Wind patterns (and related dust in the air and over the panels, but also cooling), clouds, rain, number of sunny days per year - all these contribute to the variation of the power output.

The solar panel technology is constantly improving and we see ~2% increase in efficiency of the new panels every year or so.

As you see, there are quite a few factors that impact the solar electricity output power much more than these 0.05% variations in the solar luminosity.

Good luck finding it in the statistics.


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