What Is Indirect Sunlight ?

Have you ever asked yourself what indirect sunlight is? What value does it add to our daily activities?

You may have noticed sunlight shining through your door or window now and then in your houses. That is mother earth forecasting its morning and evening duties.

However, in the mid-morning and late evening every day, mother nature brings shining sunlight. We often refer to this bright sunlight as vitamin D synthesis.

Therefore, people who live in a cloudy place often see this indirect sunlight. So each time sunlight reflects a cloudy surface, you notice the shining light grazing towards your window or doors.

Regarding what value it adds to human life, indirect sunlight adds value to solar panels or to a succulent lover who would always want sunlight to hit his/her plant.

Read on as I give you some tips concerning the benefits and values of indirect sunlight in this article.

The same thing applies to how solar panels generate energy under indirect sunlight. You may still want to ask how effective they are when giving power to the solar panel.

Moving on, what exactly is this indirect sunlight all about? That curiosity is why I have taken the time to write this article.

Read on to find out.

Indirect Sunlight Explained

Indirect Sunlight Explained

In a simple definition, indirect sunlight is when a cloud or snow covers the sun, thereby indirectly reflecting the surface. Or simply put, when the sun starts shining through the windows or doors.

Indirect sunlight is that which appears every day, hitting the surfaces of the earth through shades. Therefore, when there is cloud cover, it causes indirect sunlight.

Moreso, when there is no cloud cover between the sun and the earth, indirect sunlight will not penetrate. That is to say; they require shade areas to perform.

In a nutshell, when the weather is too cloudy, either from the south or north, indirect sunlight appears under cloud coverage conditions.

In addition, the sunlight can be found indirectly in an east-facing window or an indoor room facing south or west. 

Again, you can find indirect sunlight where leaf trees cover the sun.

Precisely, the angle to which the sun rays strike depends on the time of the year, and it varies. Hence, the quality and intensity of that sunlight vary, and that is why we have indirect sunlight even though there is direct and indirect sunlight.

But the focus here is on indirect sunlight. Therefore, the indirect sunlight covers a broader surface area because it is lower in the sky, and the ray strikes the earth from a different angle.

Now let’s discuss how indirect sunlight contributes to the solar panel that generates its power from the sun.

Does Indirect Sunlight Affect Solar Panel

Does Indirect Sunlight Affect Solar Panel

You may wonder how sunlight mostly comes when the day is cloudy or where shade covers give power to the solar panels. Well, a solar panel does not just work only in direct sunlight.

If that is the case, then do you know that most countries like Germany and Norway mostly use solar panels to generate energy more than any African country. Hence, they are even more prone to cold climate or cloud cover, but still, they are farms of solar panels.

Now, if they depend on direct sunlight to generate electricity through the solar panel, don’t you think they won’t be the most popular country to be using solar panels.

However, solar panels depend not only on direct sunlight to function but also through indirect sunlight. Therefore, the solar panel works better on direct sunlight in converting electricity than indirect sunlight.

But that doesn’t mean they can not work during cloudy or snow days when the sunlight is indirect. The solar panel also absorbs solar photons in colder weather, giving energy to your household.

Furthermore, they convert photons through the sunlight and turn them into usable energy. So the photons reach the solar panel even during indirect sunlight.

In summary, it does not necessarily mean that direct sunlight is the only way to give power to your household. Based on research, Germany remains the country that installs solar panels often because they are more prone to cold weather and cloud.

Solar Panel Production On Indirect Sunlight

Solar Panel Production On Indirect Sunlight

Generally, heat from direct sunlight penetrates more on solar panels. Nevertheless, the heat and light penetrate the solar panel in direct sunlight only.

The sun is the most potent force that penetrates the atmosphere to provide heat and light. In the same way, the sun can still penetrate through the earth’s surface to the solar panel.

Meaning that, through indirect sunlight, energy can be given to the solar panel but not effectively. Even on the longer days of full sunlight, you will still benefit from the solar panel via photon.

Although the solar panel is designed to have direct sunlight in mind, the sun still penetrates through the solar panel via photons. If you are not familiar with the word photon, it is explained in the subheading below.

The indirect sunlight acts as a filter that filters the full power rays of the sun and then minimizes the amount of light that enters the solar panel.

Even then, there is still power entering the solar panel through the photon.

Again, it is proven that for the best result of every solar panel, it is required to charge more than 4 hours a day. So even if you receive more than that a day, you will still benefit from it.

All you need to remember is to make sure your solar panel is on top of your roof. Also, depending on the size of your household, have a sufficient number of solar panels.

Then you will now talk about how the weather, cloud, and snow affect your solar panel production.

Similarly, clouds and snow do not stop indirect sunlight from penetrating the solar panel. It is only limited to how much it gets to the solar panels.

The solar panel still absorbs sunlight during cloud cover and converts it to electricity or energy. In snowstorms, the electron reaction occurs during the temperature peak at an optimal range.

Meaning that the solar panel will always peak temperature. The same thing happens even when there is direct sunlight and a snowstorm.

Most times, during a snowstorm, the sun always shines brighter. So at that period, the snow reflects the sunlight and makes it easier for the solar panel to absorb.

With that being said, I will like to take you through the benefit of indirect sunlight generally.

General Benefit; What Is Indirect Sunlight?

General Benefit; What Is Indirect Sunlight_

One may ask, how does indirect sunlight affect us? Unfortunately, that question is not wrong considering the limited amount of sunlight entering the solar panel if crowded by shades.

I will analyze some of the benefits of indirect sunlight, even though they are many and overwhelming, but to mention few.

Here, I will list them one by one for easy clarification.

Solar Energy

When it comes to the sun giving light to the solar panel, it generates energy in isolation. They absorb light particles known as photon from the sun, which convert to energy.

So the photons or particles it releases are also generated from indirect sunlight, not just from the direct sun, which is higher in terms of intensity.

Photon is an elementary particle that does not generate an electric charge. It has the smallest discrete amount of electromagnetic radiation (flow of energy traveling through space at light speed).

The solar panel still works in cold temperatures when the weather is cloudy but not as perfect as it does in direct sunlight.

Crops And Plants

Some crops and plants require indirect sunlight for them to yield very well. Conversely, some crops require zero sun rays’ hotness to avoid damage before harvesting.

However, many plants, if not all, require sunlight to grow, but it depends on the density and amount of intensity it needs to prosper.

For instance, part shade plants require up to 3-6 hours of sun in a day. Meanwhile, a full shade plant needs up to 3 hours of sun per day.

You must protect the part shade plants from too much exposure to the sun. So if you expose your plants to the optimum level of the sun, it will either contribute to the success or failure of the plant.

Here are some of the plants that need indirect sunlight, they are:

  • Chinese evergreen
  • Parlor
  • Snake plants
  • Bamboo palms
  • Pothos, etc

Vitamin D synthesis

In this case, it emphasizes that the exposure of your skin to indirect sunlight adds vitamin D into your body system. Vitamin D synthesis maintains serum calcium and helps to boost the immune system to function properly.

Note that serum calcium is a way of knowing the amount of calcium in your blood by conducting a blood test. However, sunlight contributes to the increase of calcium in your blood.

Meanwhile, the efficiency of vitamin D depends on the quality of photons that penetrate the skin. According to science, without sufficient vitamin D, the bone will not be strong, especially in children.

Lack of it can make the born weak. Mostly, vitamin D calcium is generated through exposure to indirect sunlight.

You may ask how much time you need to spend under the sun to generate vitamin D. Well, there is no specific time to stay under the sunlight.

This is because body skin varies and may not work the same way for everybody. For example, a light skin person may develop sunburn if exposed to the sun much, though the exposure to indirect sunlight does not give room for sunburn easily.

So you should be extra careful when exposing yourself to the sun. It takes a little bit of time to start functioning harshly to their body. Thus, they need to spend a lot of time in the sun.

Similarly, there is more to this indirect sunlight than you can think of, thus the advantages and disadvantages. Don’t relent yet. Keep reading.

Advantages of Indirect Sunlight

Advantages of Indirect Sunlight

You already know that when sunlight starts reflecting through the windows or doors from a particular angle of shade, it is known to be indirect sunlight. However, you should also know that there are some advantages pertaining to it.

Solar Power

In as much as the energy your solar panel derived from indirect sunlight to power your household is less efficient than the direct sunlight, the solar panel still benefits from it.

It is an added advantage to say that the sun can still penetrate on the condition of cloud climate via the photon to distribute power to the solar panels. At least to an optimal level, it can power your household.

The solar industry is improving every day, likewise technology and with time you may start seeing a better production of solar panels using indirect sunlight.

Improves Immune System

When you work under the sun, you are indirectly boosting your body system. The cells in your body tend to strengthen and become less weak.

Therefore, moderate exposure to the sun is a great benefit to the body. That is why people who live in Africa countries hardly fall sick because their weather is much harsher than in American.

Even at that, it is still advisable not to expose yourself much to the sunlight.

Skin Improvement

Firstly, it nourishes the skin by improving the vitamin D stimulation in your body. The more you expose yourself to the sunlight is the more you increase your vitamin D synthesis.

It facilitates the bone and cells in your body to be stronger and healthier as well as fight some diseases like cancer. What about the coronavirus pandemic that almost took the life of the universe.

You will notice that those living in the African part of the world had a lower case of the virus – indirect sunlight contributed to it.

In as much as you want to expose yourself to the sun because of the health benefits, you should not overexpose.

Boost Mental Health

It is also proven that exposure to indirect sunlight boosts your mental wellbeing. In the sense that it braces up the production of vitamin D in your body.

Also, it is proven that when you spend time in the sun it will increase your mental health by changing your mood for the day.

For instance, during a winter day when there is less sun, your mood always swings. But when the weather is hot it energizes your mood.

Unlike direct sunlight that only speeds up photosynthesis and delays respiration in your body, indirect sunlight balances both of them.

Boost Your Sleeping Mood

I won’t be mistaken if I tell you that exposure to the sun increases your sleeping position at night. After working hours in the day you come back home to rest and sleep, 80% of the way you sleep is affected by exposure to the sun.

So if you moderately spend time under the sun, you will have a good sleep without your body temperature fluctuating. This is contributed by the time you spent on the indirect sunlight.

In addition, it increases your hormone and makes you feel at rest. In as much as you want to enjoy the exposure to the sun, do not overexpose.

Science proves that there is a particular hormone in the body system that needs to be balanced in order to have a good sleep. Those hormones are known as serotonin and melatonin – they are the hormones that regulate your circadian rhythm.

Serotonin indicates when to sleep, while melatonin on the other hand indicates when to be awake. This means the ability to sleep and know when to be awake determines your exposure to the sun and will balance those hormones.

The circadian rhythm is the body clock cycle that reads both your physical and mental behavior within 24 hours of sleeping and waking up. They are affected by sunlight mostly.

Science also proves that lack of melatonin causes sleeplessness and insomnia, while lack of serotonin will result to depression and anxiety.

Disadvantages Of Indirect Sunlight

Disadvantages Of Indirect Sunlight

Whenever you are enjoying every bit of products you purchase, you should always have in mind that there are some negative parts surrounding it. Hence the need to discuss the disadvantages of indirect sunlight in this article.

As you are enjoying the reading, you should note the following point I am going to mention in this section.


Shade covering the solar panels reduces the production of the solar panels when the sun suppose to hit directly to the roof for proper distribution of power. It has a very huge effect on the power output of solar panels when it hinders sun rays from penetrating.

In this case, the solar panel string comes to play. You calculate how many strings you need per solar panel.

So if clouds or trees cover many parts of the solar panel, it will become a problem and will reduce the power output severely.

It is important that you place your solar panel where there is no shade to avoid less production of your power.

Sunburn Reaction

Over time, when you begin to expose yourself too much under the sun, the repercussion becomes sunburn. Mostly for light skin or people who bleach their skin.

Meanwhile, darker skin people do not notice this case on time. That is to say, they are on a better side but should not take chances.


Due to so much exposure to the sun, that is if you routinely spend time under the sun. It will not only break your skin but can cause you a lifetime disease which is cancer.

Even though you enjoy staying under the sun, it should not always exceed at least 10-15 minutes. If you must spend time outside you should always have a sunblock that will prevent the heat and too much mutation.

So to enjoy the benefits of indirect sunlight, you should always acknowledge the preventive measures.


Whatever you enjoy while spending time outside, you should not risk your eyes without protection. You should avoid the lifetime disease of blindness.

Just like your skin, too much exposure to the sun is what causes cataracts -problems of the eye. When you can no longer visualize images due to the lens of the eye being inactive.

Endeavor to spend less time in the sun to avoid blindness in your early stage of life.

Final Thought; What Is Indirect Sunlight?

Indirect sunlight is light that does not directly shine on your solar panel. But has contributed to giving light to the solar panel.

Even though, the power it generates is not as efficient as the one that comes from direct sunlight. The most important thing to do is to avoid positioning the solar panels in a shade tree or a place covered by clouds.

But even if you do, you have nothing much to worry about since it still gives you optimal power. Definitely, it will perform well since Germany still makes use of solar panels up to date not minding their weather or climate.

Again, technology is improving, and soon there will be a way to use it effectively.

In general terms, indirect sunlight is still very important in the human body. As clearly stated above that it nourishes and increases the chance of vitamin D synthesis in your body, increases your hormones, etc.

Even at that, I still advise you not to always expose yourself to indirect sunlight. Be mindful of the side effects.

Finally, I hope this article has been able to give an answer to the question you have been searching for.

I hope you found this PowerVersity pick helpful?

If you found it helpful, kindly share your thoughts with the “Leave a Reply” form found towards the end of this page.

Finally, you may want to read other articles like this, visit our below pages.

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Chinenye Mbam
Chinenye Mbam is a Content Writer for PowerVersity.com. She has a B.Sc in Mass Communication. Chinenye loves typing, movies, cooking, dancing, and she is open to learning new skills. Chinenye writes reviews, buying guides, and best pick articles for PowerVersity.com.


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