As electricity costs continue to rise, many people are looking for new, renewable energy solutions for their homes. Out of all such options, solar energy is indeed the most popular one. Installing a solar system helps save up on bills and is eco-friendly, making it everyone’s number one choice. But, how do solar panels work?
Before deciding if going solar is a good choice for you, take a look at all the essential facts you must know about the panels.
How Solar Panels Work: A Step by Step Guide
As you already know, solar panels rely on the sun’s energy to function. That makes them great for the environment, as they do not require the burning of fossil fuels. The production of energy begins when sunlight hits the surface of the panels on your roof.
Sunlight Reaches the Panels
Each solar panel is made up of tiny semiconductor wafers. These wafers, in turn, consist of two layers of silicon, one charged positively and the other negatively. One name for these wafers is photovoltaic (PV) cells.
The cells are placed inside a metal frame glass casing, with a special film surrounding them. Inside the casing, microscopic wires connect the cells, ensuring that they work together as one.
When the panels are exposed to direct sunlight, most commonly on roofs, the sun rays hit the cells. Due to the nature of silicone, the cells absorb the sun’s energy immediately.
The Production of Electricity
Since the two layers of silicone in PV cells are charged differently, they form an electric field. When the sunlight hits these tiny fields, it frees electrons from all the atoms in the wafers.
As these electrons start moving around the metal casing, their frenzied motion creates an electric current. In other words, it generates electricity.
Unfortunately, simply creating electricity is not enough. The type of energy that the panels create is direct current (DC) energy. As its name suggests, this type of energy moves only in one direction, which is not suitable for powering homes.
For the electricity to be useful for a house, it needs to be converted into alternating current (AC) energy. Thus, solar systems need an energy inverter that can facilitate the conversion.
Depending on their energy needs, homeowners can choose to install an inverter in two ways. The first is to have a single inverter responsible for the entire system, which is more suitable for smaller homes with fewer appliances. Another solution is to have several smaller inverters that power various parts of your house.
For example, one can power the kitchen and its appliances; another can be responsible for each bedroom, and so on. Having more than one inverter is preferred for bigger families with more spacious homes.
The Powering of Your Home
When the AC/DC conversion is complete, the panels are ready to power your home. The electricity works precisely the same as the one that a utility company provides.
With time, you’ll realize that the panels make the most energy during the day and summertime. The sun is most powerful from noon to 3 pm in the summer, which is when the panels are the most efficient. However, this timing is a bit inconvenient. Namely, most people need more power in the evening when they’re at home and in the colder winter months.
Fortunately, Net Metering is a solution that can help save any excess energy generated throughout the day and during the summer. This billing mechanism allows you to use this excess energy in the evenings or during winter, ensuring that you always have enough power for your home.
In sum, solar panels use the Sun’s energy to power your house and all its appliances. This type of energy is eco-friendly and doesn’t rely on fossil fuels, making it an excellent choice for homeowners.
If you would like to know even more about solar energy and how it can help you become more eco-friendly, you can contact Atlantic Key Energy today. We will be happy to discuss anything that’s on your mind!