How Do Solar Panels Work? A Quick Guide

Are you thinking of getting solar panels for your home but need more information about what they are and how they work? We’re here to help.

The sun is the best renewable resource we have and it’s available to all of us who want to harness its power. To many, solar panels remain a bit of a mystery when it comes to how they actually work. 

In this post, we’re going to give you a quick but helpful guide for the inner workings of solar panels. How do they harness the sun’s rays and convert them into usable energy for our homes? Let’s find out.

What Are Solar Panels?

Solar panels are made of photovoltaic cells, which are made of crystalline silicon and encased in glass and metal for protection against the elements. The PV cells capture the sun’s rays and transfer the power to an inverter, which changes the electricity from DC to the usable AC that is able to power our homes.

Individual PV cells are grouped together in larger silicon cells and installed (usually) on the roofs of houses, where the most sunlight will hit. How many solar panels you decide to purchase depends on your budget, the size of your house, and how much power you use. 

Once the power is generated, it has to go somewhere. Some people will purchase a battery bank to store the excess energy, but if you’re not ready for that, you can take advantage of net metering. This is the process of sending your excess power to the power grid, getting a credit on your electricity bill in return.

Converting Sunlight Into Power

The process of harnessing sunlight isn’t as complicated as it might sound. The silicon in the PV cells makes them highly conductive, so when the sunlight hits, the photovoltaic effect is quickly set in motion. Photons from the sun hit the panels and knock the electrons about, thus creating an energy current.

This energy current is in DC (direct current), but the electricity that we use is in alternating current (AC), so we need an inverter to convert DC to AC. Once the current is converted, we can use it to power pretty much anything in our homes, provided it’s properly connected to the home’s electrical system. As we said earlier, any excess energy is either stored in batteries or sent to the power grid in return for a credit.

Saving You Money and Saving the Environment

Choosing to go solar is a huge decision and you need someone that you trust to help you along. At Browning Electric, our passion is solar and we want to help Kansas City and area residents make the switch to renewable energy. 

Visit our website today to learn more about us, what we do, and why you should choose us to install your solar panels. If you still need to learn more about solar panels, solar power, and the solar installation process, you can read more about everything solar power on our helpful blog. When you’re ready, schedule an appointment and we’ll inspect your house to give you the best solar experience possible.

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