How Solar Panels Work

Solar panels are one of the most popular options for green-conscious homeowners. Homeowners that are interested in cost-cutting technologies also choose this option to generate their electrical needs. Energy bills can be reduced significantly. Even the White House uses solar panel energy. So how do solar panels work?

How Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels employ a creative design of silicon cells, metal framing, glass casing, and wiring. These layers provide for maximum efficiency. The glass casing composes the outer layer of protection against the elements. Below that is another layer of insulation. The next layer is a back sheet, which protects against dissipation and humidity in higher temperature climates. These protective layers allow solar panels to run more efficiently. Another typical asset that the panels have is an anti-reflective coating which lets the panels optimize sunlight absorption. Silicon, a nonmetal element that is very conductive, is an essential component for solar panels. The most important component, the silicon cells, can have two different structures. They can be monocrystalline and polycrystalline. The monocrystalline structure, made up of one single silicon crystal, gives electrons more space to move while the polycrystalline structure is manufactured with shards or fragments of silicon crystal. Both structures function well, however, the monocrystalline is more efficient and also more expensive.

How Do Solar Panels Use Sunlight?

Using sunlight to generate electricity is not as new of a concept as many people think. It evolved long before the 21st century, thanks to a French scientist named Edmond Becquerel who first discovered the photovoltaic effect in 1839. He noted that sunlight absorbed by material created an electric voltage which spurred more investigation into solar energy use resulting in the systems we enjoy today. Solar panels absorb sunlight using photovoltaic cells (PV cells). The cells have negative and positive layers. Sunlight entering the PV cells generates an electric field between these two layers and the energy generated provides a direct DC current. The energy grid and your home run on alternating current or AC energy and this means DC energy must be converted to usable AC energy.

You Need Solar Panel Inverters

An inverter is necessary to perform this transition. The inverter serves as a bridge that transforms the DC energy into AC energy so it can be used to power homes. There are three types of inverter. The string inverter is the most basic type and the microinverter works for more complicated systems that require higher performance levels. Finally, the power optimizer can be used as an add-on to the other inverters if needed.

What Happens At Night?

At night, the solar panels aren’t doing the work. This may leave you wondering what happens to any left-over energy when a household has met all its electricity requirements. In this circumstance, the system sends excess electricity back into the electric grid. This can happen via net metering or solar-plus-storage technology. These systems allow your house to have access energy as needed during cloudy days or at night. If you have decided you are interested in investing in solar power energy for your home, reach out to us today to discuss your options.



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