How can shiny panes of glass power a home?
Solar panels may look simple, but there are several complex actions happening behind the scenes. Once you understand how they convert the sun’s energy into electricity, you’ll likely see the benefits they can bring to your life (and you’re energy bill).
You’ve contemplated making the transition to solar, but you have questions. Most importantly, how does solar work? Learn the basics in our simple guide.
1. Sunlight Activates the Solar Panels
How does solar glass work? Each panel has a thin layer of silicon cells, a glass casing, special film, a metal frame, and wiring. Panels are grouped in ordered series, or “arrays”.
They’re installed in large outdoor spaces or on rooftops. The solar cells, or photovoltaic cells, take in light from the sun. But, how do solar panels work?
2. An Electrical Current Is Created
The silicone film is your solar panel’s semiconductor wafer, and it’s made of 2 layers of silicon. One layer has a positive charge and the other has a negative charge, and their interaction creates an electrical field.
How does solar power work? Sunlight hits a solar cell causing electrons to shake loose from the atoms inside the semiconductor wafer. These electrons start moving around due to the electrical field around the wafer, and their movement creates the electrical current.
3. Conversion to Electrical Energy
So, why can’t this electrical current power your home? The answer is that it is direct current (DC) electricity, which doesn’t commonly power homes. What you need is alternating current (AC) electricity!
Converting AC to DC is simple. Your solar power system will have a device called an “inverter” to do the job. Most modern systems have a single inverter, while some have a “microinverter” connected to the underside of each panel.
4. AC Electricity Powers Your Home
So, how does a solar oven work? Well, you don’t need to buy new appliances, because once you have AC electricity, it will run through your home’s electrical panel. This panel distributes electricity throughout your home.
You’re not completely switching over to solar. You remain connected to the electric company’s grid. Although there are many solar advantages, you stay connected in order to supplement solar grid shortages.
5. Usage Is Measured Using Net Metering
You may be asking, “Won’t the clouds and time of day/night affect the amount of sunlight that hits my panels each month?” Yes, your solar grid may produce more electricity on a sunny day and less on a cloudy day. Unused electricity goes to the traditional utility grid, earning you credits.
How Does Solar Work? Now You’re Enlightened
We’re lucky we can harness the sun’s immense energy. Consider upgrading to a more modern way of living and lower your electricity bill! Now you can give an awesome answer when your friends ask, “How does solar work?”
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