Solar panel installation companies claim to make life easy by providing energy independence and unlimited savings. It is a clean source of energy that does not harm our planet and the eco-system. According to the International Energy Agency report released in 2017, solar energy has become the world’s most rapidly-growing source of power, making it the first time that solar energy’s progression has exceeded all other fuels.
However, the main question that needs answering is, how do the solar energy panels work? Therefore, this post is all about educating our readers on this topic. But before we get into details, let’s first understand what solar energy is?
Solar energy functions by absorbing the sun’s energy and revolving it into electricity for your home or business.
Sun is a natural nuclear reactor that releases tiny packs of energy known as photons. These photons travel 93 million miles from the sun to our planet in approximately 8.5 minutes. Each hour, enough photons come into contact with Earth to generate enough solar energy to hypothetically fulfill global energy needs for a whole year. So, solar power is capturing the energy from the Sun and converting it into electricity using various technologies such as using photovoltaic, which is a direct system or indirectly using concentrated solar power, or even a combination.
Now, that we know what is solar energy, let’s get into details of how solar panels work?
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Simply put, a solar energy panel functions by allowing photons (particles of light) to knock electrons loose from their atoms, forming an electrical circuit as conductors are attached to the positive and negative sides of a cell. So, when electrons move through the circuit, they generate electricity.
A solar panel is made up of multiple, smaller units known as photovoltaic (PV) cells. (Photovoltaic means they change sunlight into electricity). These cells are linked together as every photovoltaic cell is essentially a sandwich made up of two layers of semi-conducting material that is usually silicon, which is the same stuff used in microelectronics.
To work, these photovoltaic cells need to form an electric field that occurs when opposite charges are separated. Therefore, solar cells are constructed with a positive or negative electrical charge that generates an electric field when put together and hit by photons from sunlight, just like in a battery. It is called the photoelectric effect, and it is what creates the current required to produce electricity.
How Do Solar Panels Generate Electricity?
PV solar energy panels generate direct current (DC) energy and allow electrons to flow in one route around a circuit. It is like a battery powering a light bulb as electrons move through the lamp from the negative point of the battery to the positive side of the battery.
This (DC) energy is then converted into useable AC (alternating current) by passing it through an inverter. Now, the electricity can be funneled into the National Grid or be used by the business or home the solar panels are attached to as this AC energy flows through a home’s electrical panel and is circulated accordingly. Multiple panels can be wired together to develop a solar array. So, the more panels you can arrange, the more energy they can produce.
Here is the quick recap of the main steps for how solar panels work for your home:
- Photovoltaic cells capture the sun’s energy and change it to DC electricity
- The solar inverter converts DC electricity from the solar panels to AC electricity, which is used by the home appliances
- Powering electronic devices, electricity flows through a home,
- Excess electricity generated by solar panels is moved to the electric grid
How the Grid Factors into the Home Solar Process?
Every house that is attached to the electrical grid has something called a utility meter. It is what your energy supplier uses to measure and supply power to the house. When you install solar panels on a ground mount on your property or the roof, these solar panels are connected to your house’s utility meter. It means that the production quantity of your solar system can be retrieved and measured by this meter.
Many homes in the U.S. have a net metering system, which is a major solar incentive that improves the economics of solar considerably. It allows you to send energy to the grid when your solar system overproduces (during the day in sunny summer months) in conversation for credits on your electric bill. And during hours of low electricity generation (like nighttime in winter), the credits can be used to draw extra power from the grid and meet the household electricity demand.
Some Common Misconceptions about Solar Panels and Energy production
Solar energy panels generate more electricity in the summer. Therefore, there is a common assumption that they need warmer weather to work. However, this isn’t the case. It is just that warmer temperature and stronger sunlight often go hand in hand. In fact, solar panels can become less efficient if the temperature gets too hot or too cold as well.
Cloudy days are ok as solar panels react to the observable light range. This means, if there is light visible enough to see, there is enough light for solar modules to start producing electricity. However, the stronger the sunlight, the better the power generation.
At present, photovoltaic energy accounts for only five-tenths of 1 percent of the energy used up in the United States, which is due to cost and technological reasons. However, solar technology is improving rapidly as our ability to capturing the sun’s abundant energy is on the rise while the cost of going solar is dropping quickly. Solar energy is getting more efficient and affordable. However, you will need a good solar panel installation company to have quality solar for your home. And if you from Houston TX and surrounding area, then Sunshine Renewable Solutions is the best option to have solar for business or home.