Saturday, December 2, 2023

How Solar Energy Works Step By Step

Creating Ac Power Using An Inverter

How solar systems work (A step by step guide for homeowners)

The voltage of the grid is 230V AC. This is the voltage that your home appliances and lighting are designed to operate at.

An inverter, or multiple inverters, takes the DC power and converts it to AC. They are also smart enough to monitor the health of your solar panels, alert you to problems, and ensure that the electricity flowing into your house is going to be compatible with your appliances and the local power network.

Your inverter will connect into your home switchboard, allowing the electricity your solar panels generate to power your home.

Does Solar Energy Work At Night Or In Cloudy Weather

The sun does not shine all day, and the amount of electricity generated by the panels varies with weather conditions. This creates a problem for the distribution system. As with most power systems, the installed capacity of your solar array will exceed the need of the system, even at peak demand.

When the sun shines brightly, the array generates excess electricity that overloads the distribution system. At night or on cloudy days, on the other hand, little electricity is generated.

So the solution is an array of batteries that store excess electricity your solar panels produce. Then, when conditions are not as ideal, and you need more energy than is being generated, you can pull from the battery to access the excess energy stored. So in short, the energy you use at night or during darker weather conditions comes from the stored energy in the solar batteries.

What Exactly Is Solar Energy

Solar energy is considered as a type of fuel. This fuel is powered by the sun and therefore its one of the most efficient types of fuel that is renewable and a never-ending source. We use sunlight with the help of our solar panels.

Many people wonder how is solar energy converted into electricity? when they think about how solar energy works.

Solar photovoltaics that is also called PV, is the conversion of sunlight into electricity.

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Components Of A Solar Panel

The components of a solar panel arent as complex as you might think. Some of the first solar panels were developed in the late 1800s. The most important solar panels component is the photovoltaic cells that capture sunlight and transfer the energy to the inverters that change the DC electricity to AC electricity. Each photovoltaic cell is contained within a larger silicon cell encased in glass and metal to protect it from weather and water damage.

The glass that covers the silicon PV cells is covered in an anti-reflective coating to help the panels collect the most sunlight possible and, in turn, generate an optimal amount of electricity. A solar inverter is the portion of the solar energy system that acts as the systems power plant and converts the energy to alternating current .

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How Do Solar Panels Work? Step by Step Guide

This article was originally posted by EnergySage located on the following link: Homeowners and utilities alike are choosing solar energy at a faster rate than ever before in the United States. The explosive growth of solar power is partly a result of the falling cost of solar panels. Rebates and incentives have also contributed to

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How Much Should I Charge To Clean Solar Panels

Homeowners spend an average of $150 to have their solar panels cleaned. Depending on factors such as roof slant, home height and system size, companies charge between $3 and $10 per panel. Some charge a flat rate within a range of $150 to $350. Annual inspections are typically $150 before the cost of cleaning.

Solar Panels > Charge Controller

When sunlight hits solar panels, it causes them to generate electricity direct current in this case. Small solar systems may generate 12 Volts DC or 24 Volts DC. Well assume that solar panels generate 12 Volts DC for simplicity in this example. The amount of power generated by solar panels is dependent on how much sunlight they receive. Solar panels generate less power during cloudy weather, but they can still charge their batteries.

The 12 VDC mentioned is actually a fluctuating voltage due to the fact that the amount of sunlight hitting the solar panels varies. It can go up to 20 Volts on a very sunny day if there is nothing pulling the voltage down. Now that were aware of this voltage fluctuation, we need some form of regulator to get it under control. That would be a solar charge controller.

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What Happens To Solar Panels After 25 Years

Degradation rate is the rate at which solar panels lose efficiency over time. That means that after 25 years of use, about 4 out of 5 solar panels still operate at 75% efficiency or better. At this point, its fair to estimate your solar panels will still produce energy in some capacity, long after the warranty is up.

Step : The Cells Produce Electrical Current

How Do Solar Panels Work? Step by Step Overview

Within each solar cell is a thin semiconductor wafer made from two layers of silicon. One layer is positively charged, and the other negatively charged, forming an electric field. When light energy from the sun strikes a photovoltaic solar cell, it energizes the cell and causes electrons to come loose from atoms within the semiconductor wafer. Those loose electrons are set into motion by the electric field surrounding the wafer, and this motion creates an electrical current.

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What Is A Solar Cell

A solar cell is what converts sunlight into electricity. Remember when we talked about photosynthesis? Well, the solar cells in a plant are called chloroplasts, collecting sunlight and transforming it into usable energy. When we use the sun to generate energy the solar cells are called photovoltaic or PV cells. Photovoltaic cells convert the suns energy into electrical power. The cells are made up of materials that can carry electrical current and help capture light. The suns rays are made up of tiny particles of light energy. When the sunlight hits a photovoltaic cell, it is either reflected, passes right through, or is absorbed . Only absorbed light provides energy that can be used for electricity.

Solar : How Solar Energy Works

Have you ever looked at the solar panels on roofs and wondered exactly what they do, and how? Well, those hi-tech expanses of shimmering glass are actually just one component in a complex network that harnesses the suns renewable energy to deliver electricity to the home within.

Lets take a simple, step-by-step look at how solar power works.

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The Science Of Solar Panels In Depth

Silicon solar cells, through the photovoltaic effect, absorb sunlight and generate flowing electricity. This process varies depending on the type of solar technology, but there are a few steps common across all solar photovoltaic cells.

First, light strikes a photovoltaic cell and is absorbed by the semiconducting material it is made from . This incoming light energy causes electrons in the silicon to be knocked loose, which will eventually become the solar electricity you can use in your home.

There are two layers of silicon used in photovoltaic cells, and each one is specially treated, or doped, to create an electric field, meaning one side has a net positive charge and one has a net negative charge. This electric field causes loose electrons to flow in one direction through the solar cell, generating an electrical current. The elements phosphorus and boron are commonly used to create these positive and negative sides to a photovoltaic cell.

Once an electrical current is generated by loose electrons, metal plates on the sides of each solar cell collect those electrons and transfer them to wires. At this point, electrons can flow as electricity through the wiring to a solar inverter and then throughout your home.

Can Solar Power Be Generated On A Cloudy Day

How do Solar Panels Work? The Science of Solar Explained ...

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.

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Can A House Run On Solar Power Alone

Yes and no. If you have a big enough solar system, it should be able to power your entire home. However, the caveat here is that it can only do so when there is a good level of sunlight. That means that you may be able to run your home from your solar panels year-round in areas like LA, but a home with solar panels in Western Washington will struggle to do so.

How Solar Power Works

1. Your solar panels are made up of silicon photovoltaic cells. When sunlight hits your solar panels, the solar PV cells absorb the sunlights rays and electricity is produced via the Photovoltaic Effect. The electricity produced by your panels is called Direct Current electricity, and which is not suitable to be used in your home by your appliances. Instead, the DC electricity is directed to your central inverter .

2. Your inverter is able to convert the DC electricity into Alternating Current electricity, which can be used in your home. From here, the AC electricity is directed to your switchboard.

3. A switchboard allows your usable AC electricity to be sent to the appliances in your home. Your switchboard will always ensure that your solar energy will be used first to power your home, only accessing additional energy from the grid when your solar production is not enough.

4. All households with solar are required to have a bi-directional meter , which your electricity retailer will install for you. A bi-directional meter is able to record all the power that is drawn to the house, but also record the amount of solar energy that is exported back to the grid. This is called net-metering.

If it seems complicated, dont worry one of Infinite Energys expert Energy Consultants will guide you through the process of how solar power works either by phone, email or via a no obligation home consultation.

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The Science Behind Solar Pv Cells

Solar PV panels are comprised of many small photovoltaic cells photovoltaic meaning they can convert sunlight into electricity. These cells are made of semi-conductive materials, most often silicon, a material that can conduct electricity while maintaining the electrical imbalance needed to create an electric field.

When sunlight hits the semiconductor in the solar PV cell the energy from the light, in the form of photons, is absorbed, knocking loose a number of electrons, which then drift freely in the cell. The solar cell is specifically designed with positively and negatively charged semiconductors sandwiched together to create an electric field . This electric field forces the drifting electrons to flow in a certain direction- towards the conductive metal plates that line the cell. This flow is known as an energy current, and the strength of the current determines how much electricity each cell can produce. Once the loose electrons hit metal plates, the current is then directed into wires, allowing the electrons to flow like they would in any other source of electric generation .

As the solar panel generates an electric current, the energy flows through a series of wires to an inverter . While solar panels generate direct current electricity, most electricity consumers need alternating current electricity to power their buildings. The inverters function is to turn the electricity from DC to AC, making it accessible for everyday use.

So What Is Electricity

How Solar Power Works

Understanding what electricity is will help us understand how electricity is generated, and why solar energy is different from other methods of generating electricity.

Lets travel down to the building blocks of matter: atoms. We all learned in school that an atom consists of two pieces: nucleus with a positive charge, and electrons with a negative charge.

The difference in charge creates an electromagnetic force that makes electrons move.

The higher the force in the electromagnetic field, the faster the speed that charged particles move within this field. That force is measured as voltage.

The higher the voltage, the faster charged particles will move within the electrical field.

The higher the voltage, the larger the current of electrons jumping from atom to atom, and the more power!

So, electricity is the power created as electrons jump from atom to atom through electrical circuits.


We love Bill Nye. Who doesnt? Check out Bill Nye the Science Guys episode on electricity if you want a more comprehensive explanation. We arent kidding.

A good, and common analogy for understanding electricity is to think of water in a hose. If you watched the Bill Nye epi, this is something youre already familiar with.

We can think of the electrons as the water flowing through the hose. As water flows, it moves things in its path. There are 2 components at work here: the amount of water traveling through the hose and the pressure level pushing the water through.

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The Powering Of Your Home

As soon as solar energy goes from DC to AC electricity, it is ready to power your appliances. It works exactly the same as the electricity you get from an electric utility company. And, since your home remains connected to that company, they can offer any additional electricity you need when there are solar shortages, usually during the winter.\

What Happens To Excess Energy

To manage the excess energy, you can either store excess energy in a solar battery or use net metering to sell the energy back to the utility companies. During peak sunlight hours, your solar energy system can potentially produce more renewable energy than you need. Storing the remaining energy in a solar battery can help you have access to power during outages or allow you to power portions of your home during the night.

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What Makes Solar Energy Green

Solar energy has become a leading source of green energy. Solar energy is created by a solar panel system catching the suns rays and transforming the photons into clean, renewable energy. As long as we dont run out of sunshine, we wont run out of the energy source for solar. This sustainable energy source allows

How Does Solar Energy Work Step By Step Guide

Solar 101: How Solar Energy Works (Step by Step)

The technology that allows us to harness solar energy has been around for quite a while now. So long, in fact, that most of us already take it for granted. But what if we took the time to understand how sunshine is turned into electricity to power our homes and cities? So, how does solar energy work?

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The Electrical Grid Explained

With me so far? Great! Lets talk about the electrical grid that all rely on and yet, rarely think about.

An electrical grid is a self-contained system of electricity distribution consisting of high-voltage AC transmission lines, lower voltage distribution lines to homes or businesses, substations to step up and down the voltage within the system , and power generation stations. If that makes sense to you at all, youve made some big leaps through this post!

The goal of the grid is to efficiently generate electricity, transmit it over long distances, and deliver it at the required voltage. Its divided into two parts:

  • The Transmission Grid: This consists of electricity generation stations and a network of high voltage transmission lines.
  • The Distribution Grid: The electrical line network downstream of the transmission grid that sends electricity to homes and businesses. It begins with substations that step down the voltage from the transmission grid.

Think of the grid as theroad system for electricity. The transmission system is the main electricity highway, and the substations are the exit ramps. Its goal is to facilitate long-distance electrical travel at maximum energy efficiency.

Anything connected to the access roads and streets is the vehicle distribution system. The high voltage DC lines are basically the stack interchanges between large highways.

Batteries Provide Steady Power

Batteries act as a buffer for the voltage regulated, but still fluctuating current provided by the solar panels. At this point, the power supply finally stabilizes and is suitable for powering 12 VDC devices. The batteries store the solar energy and are able to provide a stable, continuous supply of power as long as they have a charge.

The charge controller has a 12 VDC power output that can be used to supply power to either the inverter or devices that can utilize 12 VDC directly. This power output is designed to prevent you from over-discharging your battery. Remember that not all charge controllers are good. Read through charge controller specifications carefully to ensure that they provide all of these features to prevent damage to your solar system or appliances.

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Is Solar Energy Right For You

All of us here at Inspire are dedicated to decreasing the U.Ss reliance on fossil fuels and making clean energy accessible to everyone. If you want to decrease your carbon footprint, were here to help. Our clean energy plans can provide your home with access to 100% renewable energy at a fixed monthly price.

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of renewable energy or how to switch to clean energy, you’re in the right place. Inspire is a renewable energy company focused on lowering reliance on fossil fuels. Click the banner below to learn more.


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