How Does Solar Energy Work?
B elow is an overview of how solar energy works and the essential equipment that can help you generate your own clean and more affordable energy for your commercial business.
Generating electricity from the sun is relatively straightforward. Solar panels perform by using photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight directly into electricity. A technology that NASA used for the first time in 1958. As their name implies, photo meaning “light” and voltaic meaning “electricity” photovoltaics convert sunlight directly into electricity. Made mostly of silicon, individual cells are connected electrically and packaged into solar panels positioned strategically on your roof to capture the sun’s powerful energy.
When the sun is at work, the electricity that is generated travels from the panels through wires into an inverter. An inverter converts the type of electricity produced by the panels, called direct current, or DC, into the type of power your home uses, called alternating current, or AC. Once the electricity goes through the inverter, it travels into your home’s electrical panel to fill your electricity needs. At night, when your panels are not generating any electricity, you continue to get electricity from the local utility company. But during the day, your solar panels may produce more power than you consume, which feeds that power back into the utility grid.
How Does Solar Energy Work ? – The Equipment
The solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity throughout the day.
This device converts the DC electricity generated by the solar panels into the alternating current (AC) electricity.
The AC electricity is sent from the inverter to your electrical panel to power your lights and appliances with solar energy. The electrical panel is often called a “breaker box.”
The utility meter measures your energy use. It actually goes backward when your system generates more power than you immediately need. This excess solar energy offsets the energy you use at night.
Your business is still connected to the grid. You’ll need that power from the utility company at night, but don’t worry. The cost is offset by any excess solar energy you put into the grid during the day.
How Does Solar Energy Work ? What components are in a solar power system?
Making the decision to install a solar power system means having a full understanding of how creating renewable energy works. While it may seem like a complicated process, simple steps are taken to convert the sun’s rays into electrical energy for your home.
The following solar power system components will harness the sun’s energy and make it your own:
Solar Panels: When properly installed, solar panels directly convert the sun’s rays into direct current (DC) electricity. These panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells and are placed on a home’s roof in direct sunlight for optimal use.
Inverter: When the sunlight hits a solar cell, its photons are converted into electrons of DC electricity that flow through an inverter where they are converted into an alternating current (AC) power. This is the electricity that powers your home.
Electrical Panel: Once sent from the inverter, the AC power is sent to an electrical panel, also commonly known as a breaker box.
Utility Meter: Also known as a net energy meter, a utility meter helps consumers keep track of how much solar power is produced throughout the day. When you generate more power than you can use, the meter actually works in reverse and sends that power to the utility grid, thus offsetting the energy you use at night.
Utility Grid: Your household or business will still be connected to the utility grid because it will need to draw power from it at night. However, the cost of using the grid’s electricity is offset by the amount of energy you put into it during the day.
How Does Solar Energy Work ? What are solar modules?
Solar modules are the heart of solar energy systems. These panels come in three types: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous silicon, also known as “thin film.” Monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon are the two most commonly used styles of panels due to high performance and quantity of electrical output.
Designing the module array is the key to making your home or business energy efficient. Solar by Kiss can help you create the most efficient solar panel system by providing homeowners a self-guided tour of their energy use. This energy consultation will pinpoint sources of inefficiencies and rank energy-saving improvements by cost and savings.
Installing a proper array of solar modules will help consumers create a more energy-efficient home. There are a few steps homeowners can take to see even greater savings once they switch to solar:
- Properly insulating your home will reduce heating and cooling costs.
- Installing double pane, low emissivity windows will reduce drafts.
- Sealing small holes and cracks in the walls, window panes and door jams will save energy costs and keep allergens out.
- Sealing your furnace duct system will heat or cool your home evenly, as well as save you money on your energy bill.
- Replacing old appliances with Energy Star models.
We hope we have answered the question of “how does solar energy work”, if you need more information regarding our commercial or residential solar energy systems, please call Kiss Electric at (215) 547-0603.