Over the past few years, there has been a strong push toward embracing alternative energy. As a result, more and more households are switching to green energy sources such as solar. In fact, according to Pew Research Center, four out of ten homeowners are considering residential solar panels. However, if you are new to the world of solar energy, you might have a few questions on your mind. For instance, you may be wondering how does solar energy convert to power in a home. And while solar energy can seem overwhelming, we are here to help you understand all about it.
What is Solar Energy?
Generally speaking, solar energy refers to any type of energy that can be harnessed from the sun using solar panels. As an example, you can convert solar energy into either electricity or heat, depending on your requirements.
It’s also worth noting that solar energy is one of the most versatile, effective, and environmentally friendly forms of renewable energy. And since the entry barrier gets lower every year, it’s no wonder people are excited to give it a chance.
How Does It All Work?
In order to answer the question of how does solar energy convert to power in a home, you first need to understand how solar panels work. To put it simply, solar panels are an assembly of photovoltaic cells mounted into a framework for easy installation. It’s important to mention that solar panel placement is essential, as if even one photovoltaic cell is shaded, the overall efficiency will be reduced by more than half.
The photovoltaic cells are made out of a film of silicone, hidden beneath a thin layer of glass. They are responsible for absorbing sunlight during daylight hours and converting it into electricity. In other words, the photovoltaic cells are the most crucial part of the entire solar panel system.
How Do Photovoltaic Cells Work?
When the sunlight touches a solar panel, the photons will knock the electrons off the silicone, which are then attracted to the other side of the silicone cell. The movement of the negatively charged free electrons will create an electrical voltage that is ready to be collected by the wiring system. However, the electricity produced at this stage is direct current, meaning that it is unusable by your electrical appliances. Therefore, you will need an inverter that will be able to convert direct current to alternating current.
What About the Inverter?
The inverter is a module whose main function is to convert direct current to 120-volt alternating current. When deciding the placement of an inverter, you will have to keep in mind that it makes a slight noise. As a result, homeowners usually place the module on the exterior wall of their home, right next to the electrical panel.
It’s important to mention that you can connect the inverter directly to a circuit breaker or to a battery. However, you should ask a professional for help before trying to connect it yourself, as you could cause harm to the electrical system. Keep in mind that an inverter is essential for all types of solar panel systems, no matter their size and purpose.
All in all, how does solar energy convert to power in a home is an important question, especially if you want to go solar in the near future. In fact, without the proper knowledge, switching to solar energy may seem overwhelming and almost impossible. Luckily, nowadays, researching all there is to know about renewable energy is easier than ever. And due to the strong push toward solar energy, your knowledge might come in hand in the near future.