How Do Solar Panels Work?
For decades, solar panels have been advertised as a viable alternative energy source. They can now be found on the side of the road, on roofs, and even affixed to space shuttles.
While solar panels are attractive, you may still be wondering how they function.
This is an excellent question, and it is addressed here. Continue reading to learn more about solar panels’ inner workings and how this alternative energy source produces power for your home or company.
The Basic Steps of Energy Generation and Transmission
There are a few steps involved when it comes to solar energy generation and transmission. These include:
- UV rays from the sun hit the solar panels and create an electric field.
- Generated electricity flows to the panel’s edge into a conductive wire.
- The wire takes electricity to the inverter, where it’s transformed from DC to AC electricity. AC electricity is used for powering buildings.
- A different wire moves AC electricity from the inverter to the electrical panel, which sends electricity through the building.
- Electricity not needed goes through the utility meter and to the electrical utility grid. As the electricity moves through the meter, it causes it to run backward, giving your property credit for the additional power generation.
Now that you have a basic idea of how power is generated and distributed through solar photovoltaic panels, it’s time to go deeper into the science underlying how they work.
How Solar Panels Work
Solar power is generated when photovoltaic cells absorb photons (light particles) from the sun. The cells absorb the energy and generate direct current energy, which is then converted to alternating current energy using inverter technology.
Continue reading to learn more about this procedure.
Step 1: The Panels Are Activated by Sunlight
All brands of solar panels are built in the same way. Silicone cells, a metal frame, and a glass cover encased in film and wiring make up the device. Panels are organized in “arrays,” which simply means an orderly pattern, to guarantee optimum effect. They are installed in vast outdoor spaces or on roofs after the arrangement has been established. Photovoltaic cells, or solar cells, absorb light throughout the day.
Step 2: The Production of Electrical Currents
A tiny semiconductor wafer consisting of two layers of high-quality silicon is found inside each solar cell. When these two silicon layers are joined, they generate an electric field because one is negatively charged and the other is positively charged.
The photovoltaic solar cell is activated when sunlight strikes it, and electrons are “freed” from the atoms in the semiconductor wafer. Because of the electric field around the wafer, the electrons begin to migrate once they are free. An electrical current is created by this motion.
Step 3: Conversion of the Electrical Energy
Your solar panels are now converting sunshine into power. It is not, however, ready for usage in your home or building.
DC – direct current – electricity is now the name given to electricity. It must be transformed into AC (alternating current) electricity, which is used to power everything in most homes and buildings.
But don’t panic; an inverter device makes the conversion from DC to AC electricity possible. In current solar systems, there are two types of inverters:
- A single inverter for the whole system
- Individual microinverters attached behind each panel in the system
Step 4: AC Power Is Used to Power Your Home or Building
After the solar energy has been converted from DC to AC electricity, it is transferred to the electrical panel and used to power devices, appliances, and electronics throughout the home or building.
It works in the same way as electrical electricity from a utility company is distributed through the grid, so no extra equipment is necessary inside your home or building. You can continue to acquire electricity from the grid to make up for any deficits from your solar panel system because you are still linked to your regular power company.
Step 5: Measure Usage with a Net Meter
Solar panels or shingles may not receive enough sunshine to generate energy overnight or on gloomy days. They may, on the other hand, amass a surplus of energy during the day when no one is home. It suggests there is more energy available than is required to power your home or structure in this scenario.
It is for this reason that a net meter is utilized. It monitors the flow of energy in both directions, from and to your home or building. If you return surplus energy to the utility company, you will most likely receive a credit.
The Top Benefits Offered by Solar Panel Installation
Now that you know how solar panels function, it’s time to learn about the advantages of establishing a solar system. Solar energy has a number of tempting advantages for both residential and business owners, believe it or not.
Reduce or Eliminate Energy Bills
Solar panels will assist you in lowering or perhaps eliminating your energy expenditures. The amount of money you save depends on the size of your solar system and how much electricity you use.
Earn Tax Rebates and Credits
You can receive tax rebates and credits for installing a solar system. These often result in savings of hundreds of dollars, making them more than worth the investment.
Start Saving Right Away
As soon as your solar panels are installed, you can begin saving money. This starts at day one.
Understanding the Inner Workings of Solar Panels
While solar energy may appear complicated, the process of producing it isn’t as difficult to comprehend as you may imagine, as the information above demonstrates. If you’ve been considering investing in solar energy, this might be a good moment to do it. By making this investment, you can benefit from lower bills, a more environmentally friendly property, and tax advantages. Now is the time to think about making this investment; it will pay you in the short and long run.