Mankind learned to control fire, we invented the wheel, and today, we can capture energy from the sun! The sun gives off an enormous amount of radiant solar energy; it made sense to harness that energy. And we did it using solar panels.
Have you ever wondered, “how do solar panels work?” SEM Power can answer that question for you. With 18 years of experience installing residential and commercial solar systems in Florida, we are the experts to answer this question and any others you may have before purchasing your solar system.
Just How Do Solar Panels Work?
- An electric current is generated in the solar panels. This occurs from the sun’s energy striking the panels.
- The electric current travels along a conductive wire.
- The wire feeds the current into an inverter.
- The inverter converts the current from a DC direct current to an AC alternating current. AC electric current is what is used in homes and businesses.
- The AC electricity then flows to the building’s breaker box or electrical panel.
- The breaker box sends the electricity throughout the building as needed.
- The unused electricity produced by the solar panels goes into the utility company’s power grid.
The Science Behind Solar Panels
- Solar panels use photovoltaic (PV) cells to change the sun’s energy to electricity.
- The PV cells have negative and positive charged semiconductors inside them. These produce an electric field.
- The sun’s energy hits the cell as photons which in turn release electrons inside the cell.
- The electrons flow along the electric field to metal around the solar cells. This is the electric current.
- The metal then directs the current to wires that send the current along a path into your building.
From here, the current follows the same traditional path electricity does entering your building. The current is driven to an inverter, then to the breaker box. From there, it travels to where you need it.
This is How You Save
Unless you are entirely off the grid, you will still have to rely on your electric utility company to provide back-up power. During times your solar system is not producing its energy, you will be using electricity from the utility’s grid. The amount you use from their grid is measured using a utility meter somewhere on your property. The meter spins forward the more of the utility’s energy you use.
The beautiful part about having a solar energy system installed is making the utility company’s meter spin backwards. Excess electricity produced by your system will be fed into the utility company’s meter and to their electric grid. Since you are giving them electricity, you build up credits toward your bill at the end of the month! Depending on your situation, you can save enough over a few years to pay for your solar system!
If you were wondering, “how do solar panels work,” we hope this helped answer some of your questions. If you have more questions or you are ready to switch to solar, call or visit SEM Power in Tampa, Florida, today.