How Solar Energy Works


Solar energy has gained popularity as people become more aware of the positive impacts it has on the environment, and also their energy bills. We’re hearing more about solar energy, but how does it get turned into usable electricity? We’ve covered the basics for you, so you can have an easy understanding of how solar energy and solar panels convert sunshine into electricity that we can use for our homes, appliances and more.

How do solar panels work?

If you drive past a house or business and see grid-like panels on the roof, those are solar panels. What do they do? To put it simply, solar panels absorb sunlight and convert it into energy that can be used to power things that require electricity to function.

How does solar energy get turned into electricity?

Once the sunlight hits the solar panels, direct current (DC) energy is generated. This DC energy is sent to the inverter where it converts to alternating current (AC) electricity. This is the kind of electricity used to power your home or building. Any unused electricity will flow through a utility meter back to the grid. Some utility companies even offer incentives and credits when your solar energy gets put into the grid.

Do solar panels work without electricity?

Solar panels alone will not work during a grid outage. Say you have a power outage. This is because your solar panel system is connected to the grid, which is how homes without solar energy get their electricity. If the grid shuts down, your solar panels will too. If you have a solar battery, however, any excess energy that you haven’t used and was stored in the battery, can be used to power your home.

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