Solar energy harness the energy provided by the sun and converts it into usable energy, thermal and electric, for your home or business. The primary sources used to make this possible is solar panels. They take the solar energy and do all the work to convert the power for your use.
Solar energy is continuing to gain popularity because it is inexpensive, clean, and renewable. Renewable means this energy source is infinite. Solar power will be available as long as the sun is in the sky.
How Solar Panels Work
Solar energy generated in solar panels through a series of events invisible to the human eye. The process begins when photons hit the solar cells in the solar panels. Photons are light particles from the sun that carry solar energy. These photons fall from the sun and land on the solar panels. They knock electrons loose from the solar cells on the panel when they hit them. Conductors on either side of the cells create a circuit for the electrons to flow through and generate energy. The direct current power then goes through a solar inverter to convert to alternating current electricity.
As stated before, the purpose of a solar inverter is to convert the direct current (DC) energy to alternating current (AC) energy. The AC energy can now be used to power your house. The inverter also provides ground fault protection and system stats.
Parts of Solar Panels
Silicon solar cells compose the majority of the solar panels. These cells have a positive and negative to create an electric field, like a battery. In addition to these cells, there is a glass casing to protect the cells and make the panels durable. Under the glass, there is a layer of insulation used to protect the panels from sun damage and humidity within the panel. The panels also include an anti-reflective coating to maximize sunlight absorption.
All unused energy becomes stored in the electric grid. Any excess and remaining power will convert to credits on your electricity bill. These credits are then saved to be used when energy is not generating, such as at night or overcast days. You can use your credits to take extra energy and power your house.
The Whole System
Here is a step-by-step of the whole system
- Solar panels absorb the sun’s energy and convert it to DC energy
- The solar inverter converts the DC energy to AC energy for use within the house
- Electricity flows through the house and powers electronic devices
- The electric grid stores extra, unused energy