How, exactly, does solar energy “work”? Most of us know it requires the familiar solar panels that can be mounted on a rooftop or even on a yard or lawn. We also know that it requires special gear to convert whatever those panels collect into electricity for our home. After that, we may not know just how solar energy works. In this article, we are going to look at the details of solar energy to help you learn if it might be an option in your home or other property.
How It Works
Solar power uses light and heat from the sun (i.e., solar) and turns it into clean energy. Though there are three ways that solar energy can be captured and used (passive, active and solar thermal energy), it is the active solar energy that is so familiar to us in the modern era. This is the system that uses panels and other equipment to convert sunlight to energy.
The way it works is not all that complex, and most systems have similar components:
- Solar panels – These are often called PV or photovoltaic cells, too. They capture the light and heat and use silicon to help turn the sunlight into DC or direct current electricity.
- Inverter – All that the panels collect is sent (via wires) to the inverter, which turns the DC into AC or alternating current
- Box panel – This AC current is transmitted into the building through the panel
- Meter – Most buildings with solar remain on the public power grid, and the meter tells how much electricity the system created and how much was sent into the grid. The meter can then tell you if your system is producing enough solar energy to meet your needs or if you need some power from the public grid.
- Batteries – You may have a standalone system, too. This would be one that is entirely off the grid and unable to take or send energy. Instead, it would be used directly in the building.
Is it right for you? As you can see, solar energy is straightforward, and has become even more so over the past few decades. It is more affordable than ever before, too, and so it pays to figure out if you have a property that could work well with a solar energy system.
Buying and installing a system is usually not within the purview of the standard homeowner. It does involve some intricate work with the home electrical system, and if you have a grid-tied system, it has to be installed to send surplus energy into the grid.
The location of your property is also a key factor in whether or not solar energy is going to work for you. It is best to consult with experts, like the team at Go Green Solar. They can assess a property and explain the different solutions available. They offer financed systems and all of the components needed to get your home as independent or green as possible!