What The Inverter Does
An inverter converts the direct current produced by your solar panels into the alternating current that your electrical appliances need to work. Its probably the most important part of the whole system.
A small unit installed inside your home, the inverter takes the DC and runs it through a transformer so it essentially becomes the typical household 120-volt AC. From there, the current runs through the fuse box and meter to your appliances.
Any electricity you dont use can be fed back into the national grid.
How Do Solar Panels Work On A House
The solar power generation process is straightforward. Without getting into too many technicalities, we will answer, how do solar panels work?
First, you need a surface with photovoltaic cells or solar panels. The PV cells convert sunlight they absorb into direct current energy. The DC energy goes to an inverter inside the house.
As the energy travels to the inverter, it turns into alternating current energy. AC is the electricity type home appliances use often. This energy flows through the electrical panel.
As it does, it powers appliances. The excess electricity goes to the electric grid. If you use more electricity than the PV panels can collect, you take electricity from the grid.
How Sunlight Is Converted To Electricity
When sunlight hits the PV cells in a solar panel, electrons are knocked loose and move around. These loose electrons can be captured so they move in the same direction around a circuit. An electric current is formed by this flow of electrons in the same direction.
In our homes and businesses we use 240 volt alternating current electricity. Therefore, a box called an inverter – usually no bigger than your average shopping basket – is used to convert the DC electricity to AC so it can be used in your premises.
Solar Panels: Electron Work
A fundamental concept of virtually every field of science is the balancing of potentials. Whether it is hydraulics, pneumatics, aerodynamics or in this case electronics, there is an inherit need for things to balance out.
As the excited electrons in the solar cells move and channel their way away from the driving electrical field, an imbalance is created via an absence of electrons.
This imbalance is the core concept of electron flow, which, when channeled through easy flow electrical conduits is how we get electrical current. And it is this current that powers our electrical devices.
In order to visualize this, lets consider our billiards table.
With some billiards tables, there are internal pathways connected to the pockets that allow the billiards balls that have dropped off, to roll back to one side of the table. Once the ball is there, a player can retrieve it and place it back on the table for further play.
This is the same for solar panels.
In essence, excited electrons make their way back around and are returned for additional photons present in sunlight to knock them into an excited state, whereby the process is repeated.
How Much Electricity Can Be Stored In A Battery Bank
A common question that homeowners will ask is how much electricity they can plan on being able to store in their battery banks. This will almost always depend on how many batteries or how large of a solar system youll choose to have on your home. If you install a bunch of batteries without enough solar panels to power your home and fill the batteries, then it wont be worth it to purchase the batteries in the first place.
One of the best batteries on the market today is the Enphase systems. Sun Badger is a certified Enphase installer, and we tell our customers that they can expect to store up to 10 kilowatt-hours in the Encharge 10. Because there are different ways to monitor the battery health, use of power, and more, that battery power will likely be able to power your home for a day or more. If you feel like you want even more battery power storage, you can install a second or third battery pack to double or triple your home battery capacity.
If youd like to learn more about installing an Enphase battery system or a solar energy system and battery pack to your home, contact us today. Our solar experts are knowledgeable and ready to answer any questions that you might have about your future solar energy system.
Don’t Miss: How Much Can Solar Panels Produce
What Components Make Up A Solar System
Solar panels are the most obvious components of a photovoltaic system, but only represent about 30% of the total systems cost. The high-tech shimmer of a solar panel is just the tip of the iceberg that a photovoltaic system uses to harness renewable energy from the sun.
Lets take a closer look at the important components that make up a solar system.
Advantages Of A Solar Battery Bank
If you do choose to install a battery bank on your home, here are some of the advantages that youll be able to experience.
- On-demand power whenever you need it.
- Security during power outages.
- Cleaner energy is better for the environment.
- A quiet solution to power outages. No need for noisy generators and their gas fuel consumption
- Lower electric bills because you wont be using traditional power almost at all.
There are more advantages than that, but these are the most important advantages weve found over the years. If youre sold on the idea of a solar battery bank, contact us today, and we can estimate your cost for a solar battery bank.
Also Check: How Strong Are Solar Panels
How Does Solar Energy Power Your Home
In this section, well explain the process by which homes can generate and use solar energy by using solar panels.
Usable solar power is produced in 4 steps:
Choosing Optimum Transparent Conductor
The illuminated side of some types of solar cells, thin films, have a transparent conducting film to allow light to enter into the active material and to collect the generated charge carriers. Typically, films with high transmittance and high electrical conductance such as indium tin oxide, conducting polymers or conducting nanowire networks are used for the purpose. There is a trade-off between high transmittance and electrical conductance, thus optimum density of conducting nanowires or conducting network structure should be chosen for high efficiency.
Read Also: What Are Tesla Solar Panels Made Of
Choose The Right Solar Partner
The company that sells and installs your solar system isnt just your solar installer theyre your solar partner for years to come. When looking for a solar partner, find a local company with a reputation for quality work and service. Youll want to be able to contact and work with your solar partner in case anything goes wrong in the future.
How Much Does A Solar Energy System Cost
In 2018, most US homeowners are paying between $2.71 and $3.57 per watt to install solar, and the average gross cost of solar panels before tax credits is $18,840, EnergySage estimates.
That may seem quite expensive, but it also doesnt take into account the many incentives available to solar customers and the multiple new forms of solar financing that have emerged in recent years that can allow customers to put solar on their rooftops at little or no cost up front.
In addition, in the US, a 30 percent federal investment tax credit is available until 2019 and can offset the cost of your investment substantially, and many states also offer their own tax breaks and incentives to encourage home solar panel installation.
And, of course, looking at the straight upfront cost of the system and its installation is far from the whole story, at least as far as your bank account is concerned. Which leads us to our next question
You May Like: How To Use A Solar Battery Charger
How Long Will Solar Panels Last
A long time. Like, a really long time.
Many home array solar panels are guaranteed for decades, thanks to warranties that typically cover 25-30 years. But because their parts do not wear out easily, solar arrays are well-known to continue producing clean electricity even beyond these lengthy timeframes.
Unlike many other consumer goods, dont give up the ghost at the end of their warranty period and need to be replaced, but continue to still produce clean electricity, although at a slightly less efficiency each year, Clean Technica reports.
In fact, some decidedly old-school solar cells have been producing electricity daily for about 40 years or so, and are expected to continue to power homes and businesses for decades more.
A June 2012 NREL study investigating the photovoltaic degradation rates of about 2,000 solar installations over a period of 40 years found the median solar system lost just 0.5 percent of its efficiency per year. So, by the end of your 25-year warranty, the solar panels on your roof could still be operating at about 88 percent of their original capacity.
Is your 93 Camry still running near-perfect with very, very little maintenance ?
> > Free download: Climate 101: What Is Renewable Energy?< <
The Benefits Of Solar Panels
Using solar panels is a very practical way to produce electricity for many applications. The obvious would have to be off-grid living. Living off-grid means living in a location that is not serviced by the main electric utility grid. Remote homes and cabins benefit nicely from solar power systems. No longer is it necessary to pay huge fees for the installation of electric utility poles and cabling from the nearest main grid access point. A solar electric system is potentially less expensive and can provide power for upwards of three decades if properly maintained.
Besides the fact that solar panels make it possible to live off-grid, perhaps the greatest benefit that you would enjoy from the use of solar power is that it is both a clean and a renewable source of energy. With the advent of global climate change, it has become more important that we do whatever we can to reduce the pressure on our atmosphere from the emission of greenhouse gases. Solar panels have no moving parts and require little maintenance. They are ruggedly built and last for decades when porperly maintained.
There are many other applications and benefits of using solar panels to generate your electricity needs – too many to list here. But as you browse our website, you’ll gain a good general knowledge of just how versatile and convenient solar power can be.
You May Like: How Many Solar Panels For 1500 Kwh
How Does Battery Storage Work With Solar Energy
Up until now, weve only discussed the most popular type of solar installation in the United States, grid-connected solar systems.
You may have noticed that these systems operate without any batteries. When the grid is available, as it is for most people, the addition of batteries to a home solar energy system is optional.
Furthermore, buying solar battery storage usually doesn’t make economic sense. Battery storage solutions are expensive and have relatively short lifespans, so they dont usually pay for themselves.
That said, battery storage solutions are rising in popularity, aided by the emergence of versatile lithium-ion solutions like the Tesla Powerwall.
Here are the two common scenarios where homeowners choose to use battery solutions with their solar panel systems:
How Does Weather Affect Solar Energy
Weather conditions can impact the amount of electricity a solar system produces, but not exactly in the way you might think.
Perfect conditions for producing solar energy include a clear sunny day, of course. But like most electronics, solar panels are actually more efficient in cold weather than warm weather. This allows the panel to produce more electricity in the same amount of time. As the temperature rises, the panel generates less voltage and produces less electricity.
But even though solar panels are more efficient in cold weather, they don’t necessarily produce more electricity in the winter than in summer. Sunnier weather often occurs in the warmer summer months. In addition to fewer clouds, the sun is usually out for more of the day. So even though your panels may be less efficient in warm weather, they’ll still likely produce more electricity in summer than in winter.
You May Like: How Does Buying Solar Panels Work
Do Solar Panels Work On Flat Roofs
While most solar panels are tilted, solar panels can work just as well on flat roofs, as they use special mounting frames that allow them to be tilted at the best possible angle. There are added benefits, in that flat roofs:
- are easier to access, making installing and maintaining panels much easier
- do not need tiles taken up
- make the panels less visible from the street
Can Solar Power Be Generated On A Cloudy Day
Yes, it can. The UK may not seem the best country for generating energy from the sun, but solar power only requires some level of daylight in order to harness the suns energy. That said, the rate at which solar panels generate electricity does vary depending on the amount of direct sunlight and the quality, size, number and location of panels in use.
You May Like: What Solid Food To Introduce To Baby First
We All Feel The Suns Power
So what is this power from the sun?
The Sun throws out lots of power and gives us heat, light, and other kinds of energy too. The next time you go outside on a sunny day, just feel the warmth on your arms and look at how bright everything is.
Just think that this heat and Light have come to us all the way from the sun, which is an incredible 93 million miles away.
Solar Panels: What Is Electron Excitation
Perhaps the easiest way to think of electron excitation in solar panels is to take what we know of the game of billiards.
Imagine those fifteen multi-colored balls on top of the pool table, resting comfortably and not moving. These represent the electrons present in solar cells.
Now imagine the solid white cue ball being slammed into those fifteen balls and we all know how things get exciting and really start moving.
This is what happens when a photon that is present in sunlight, slams into solar cells the electrons start moving.
The definition for this process is known as the and quite adeptly uses the term excitation.
You May Like: How Often Do You Need To Clean Solar Panels
Promoting Light Scattering In The Visible Spectrum
Lining the light-receiving surface of the cell with nano-sized metallic studs can substantially increase the cell efficiency. Light reflects off these studs at an oblique angle to the cell, increasing the length of the light path through the cell. This increases the number of photons absorbed by the cell and the amount of current generated.
The main materials used for the nano-studs are silver, gold, and aluminium. Gold and silver are not very efficient, as they absorb much of the light in the visible spectrum, which contains most of the energy present in sunlight, reducing the amount of light reaching the cell. Aluminium absorbs only ultraviolet radiation, and reflects both visible and infra-red light, so energy loss is minimized. Aluminium can increase cell efficiency up to 22% .
What Type Of Electricity Is Produced By Solar Panels
Solar panels generate direct electricity, also known as DC. In this type of electricity, the electrons flow in a specific direction in a circuit. Direct current or DC is converted into alternating current or AC, which is used in our houses with the help of a solar inverter.
From the inverter, the electricity is sent to the electrical grid, and from there, to the entire home. Inverters are also crucial because they offer ground fault protection, maxim power point tracking, and energy production apart from converting electricity.
Recommended Reading: How Many Pool Solar Panels Do I Need
Energy Is Converted From Ac To Dc
Most homes in the country are powered using what is known as an alternating current . The energy created within a solar panel, however, is a direct current . DC must convert to AC before homeowners can use it. This is done by using a device known as an inverter. Some solar systems have only one main inverter, while others have them installed underneath each panel.
How Do Solar Panels Work Step By Step Overview Of The Solar Generation Process
In a nutshell, a solar panel works and generates electricity when particles of sunlight knock electrons free from atoms, setting in motion a flow of electrons. This flow of electrons is electricity, and solar panels are designed to capture this flow, making it a usable electric current.
Solar power generation starts when solar panels absorb sunlight with photovoltaic cells, generating this direct current energy and then converting it to usable alternating current energy with the help of inverter technology. AC energy then flows through the homes electrical panel and is distributed accordingly. The main steps for how solar panels work for your home are:
You May Like: Does My Solar Power Work If The Power Goes Out
How Do Solar Panels Generate Electricity
Now that you know what solar panels are and what they are made of, lets try to understand the working principle of solar panels and how they convert solar energy into electrical energy. A standard photovoltaic solar panel generates a direct current that recharges a battery which is further used for consumption. In a direct current electrical circuit, the electron flows in a single direction. The electron travels from the negative side of the circuit to the positive side of the battery.
On the other hand, in an AC current circuit, the electronics travel in a bidirectional manner. As the electrons are traveling in forward and reverse direction simultaneously, a positive and negative current is generated, respectively. The AC current is utilized in almost every household as well as industry to power electronic items. But, a solar panel only operates with DC current. So, to convert DC current into AC, we need to introduce a solar inverter into the circuit as well.