If you are considering switching to solar to power your home, you may wonder how solar panels work. You already know that solar panels are placed on or near your home and they face the sun. But how does sunlight turn into electricity?
You may think we are going to give you a science lesson with complicated formulas and big words. Instead, we’ll provide a broad view that’s easy to understand. Let’s start with the panels themselves.
The panels are made up of photovoltaic cells that absorb the energy in the light from the sun. However, these cells on their own can’t generate enough energy to power your home. When you group enough cells — and panels — they can produce all the power you need. The electricity that they produce is direct current, or DC, electricity.
The power the solar panels create from the sun is indeed electricity, but that electricity isn’t yet ready for you to use. The electricity that comes out of the outlets in your home is alternating current, or AC, electricity. The primary difference between DC and AC electricity is DC electrons only travel in one direction while AC electrons alternate from negative to positive and back, periodically switching direction. A solar power system passes the DC electricity produced by the panels through an inverter that converts it to an AC current that you can use in your home.
Storing solar power
Depending on how you want to use solar, you may also have a battery backup system to store additional power. The stored electricity can power your home when it’s not sunny. It can also be used to power your home during an emergency even if you are “on the grid” using electricity from power companies.
As technology progresses, the exact method for capturing sunlight and converting it into electricity may change, but the goal stays the same: turning the energy from the sun into electricity we can use.
Knowing how solar panels power your home probably isn’t enough to convince you to put them on your roof, but the savings you can see after installing them might. You can also take advantage of several programs, like a 30% federal solar tax credit. At Stilwell Solar, we are experts in powering your home. Contact us or call (239) 495-5988 to schedule a free consultation and learn how solar can help you save.