Let’s Get to the Basics: Solar Panels and How do They Work to Power Your Home
Solar energy is no doubt a favorite topic if we talk about renewable energy sources. Solar energy does its work by utilizing the energy of the sun and converting this energy into electricity to power homes and commercial buildings.
The sun, which is a natural nuclear reactor, unleashes photons that travel from the sun to our planet. The photons released by the sun provide enough energy to produce the electricity that we need to power the entire planet whole year round.
Due to the benefits solar energy provides, many people are now looking for solar panels to install in their homes. The technology is also improving, and its price has become affordable as the years advance.
The Materials that Make Solar Panels
The solar panels that you see over the roof of your neighbor’s house are made of solar cells. These solar cells are semiconductors made of silicon. These cells share the same functions with how batteries work, solar panels have positive and negative layers to create an electrical charge.
How do Photovoltaic Solar Panels Work?
Every time a photon reaches your solar panel, it separates electrons from their atoms. The electrons will flow through an electrical circuit made of conductors attached to the positive and negative layers of a solar cell. This process, in turn, produces electricity.
Photovoltaic solar panels produce (DC) direct current electricity. With the help of direct electricity, electrons in the solar cells will travel in a single direction around an electrical circuit. This process is similar to powering an electric bulb through a battery.
The electrons travel from the negative side of the solar panel, through the bulb, and back to the positive side of the panel.
The (AC) alternating current electricity, on the other hand, will push and pull the electrons, which creates a periodic change for them. In the United States electrical grid, they use AC electricity because it is affordable to transmit electricity over long distances.
With the use of an inverter, the solar panels that create direct current electricity, change the direction of this electricity into the (AC) alternating current grid.
How Does a Solar Inverter Works?
The use of an inverter is that it takes the direct current electricity from the panels and utilizes it to make alternating current electricity.
Inverters are like the central brain in the solar power system. Not only that they change DC into AC electricity, but they also give system statistics and protection in case of a ground fault. It can also track the point of maximum power and how much energy is produced.
Since the inception of solar power technology, a lot of manufacturers already used central inverters. However, solar power system now comes with micro-inverters that optimize the power of every single solar panel to its full potential.
Unlike the central inverter, micro inverters do not bring down the entire system if there is a problem on a single solar panel. Indeed, microinverters make one of the biggest contributions to the improvement of solar technology.
Solar power has become one of the most promising renewable sources of energy nowadays. It provides us a lot of benefits such as the reduction of our monthly power cost and the preservation of our environment. However, we need to know how solar power works to make us understand its importance and to improve this technology further.
As a recap here is how a solar power system works: first, sunlight reaches your rooftop solar panels. The panels will now convert the power of the sun into direct current electricity. The DC electricity will travel through a solar inverter to make it into alternating current electricity to power your household. That how wonderful solar energy works!
For More Information
“Electricalschool.org offers an online glossary of terms related to the generation and management of electricity”
Lisa Jones is a freelance blogger and environmental advocate. She writes blog articles such as benefits of using solar energy and the many ways to power your home with a renewable source of energy. Lisa browses GStore to look for high-quality solar panels.