The sun is the most important source of energy for our planet. It is responsible for life on earth. Without the sun’s heat, the world as we know it wouldn’t exist.
Unlike coal, natural gas, and oil, the sun is one of the cleanest forms of energy. So how can a star that is over 4.6 billion years old provide us with the strength to power all of the electronic devices? If you’re curious to know, we answer how solar panels produce electricity.
Solar panels are made up of many components, but the critical ingredient is silicon. Silicon is the element that makes it possible to capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity. Silicon releases electrons which create electrical currents.
To influence this process, also known as the photovoltaic effect, specialized wiring, along with metal materials, make it possible for enough electrons to be released. It’s the release of these particles that create electricity. In addition to silicon cells, solar panels contain a metal frame, glass casing, wiring, and plexiglass.
So now that we know what goes inside a solar panel, how do they give us the electrical currents to power our homes?
The photovoltaic cells, or PV cells as they are commonly known, take light from the sun and turn it into electricity. The PV cells create DC (direct current) electricity. DC electricity, however, is not enough to power your home. Additional materials are needed to make the process possible.
Inverters convert solar power into usable electricity, but not all solar panel systems are alike. Some have only one inverter, whereas more complex systems have several of them. Nevertheless, it’s the inverter itself that converts DC electricity into AC (alternating current) power.
When you turn on your television, microwave, or other home appliance, you are using AC power, which is the usable form of electricity.
First of all, it’s not light off as soon as the sun goes down.
Your appliances will first use solar energy before tapping into non-solar electricity. Any extra solar energy is transmitted back to the grid. Therefore, at night or on cloudy days, you always have access to power from the grid.
Even if you don’t have any extra solar energy leftover, your home is still connected to your utility company’s grid, just as it was before you installed solar panels. In one way or another, your home always remains with electrical access.
Any solar energy you don’t use goes back to the electrical grid. Utility companies measure your excess solar energy through net metering. When you install solar panels on your home, your excess energy is measured and applied to you in the form of credits. These credits will offset your total energy expenditure.
Solar technology is making it possible to give us an energy source that’s abundant and clean. By relying on renewable sources for our energy production, we can substantially minimize our carbon footprint and maximize the amount of money we save. Solar panel installation for your home can provide you with these benefits.
This video on solar panels demonstrates the process of how solar energy is converted into electricity.
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