How Do Solar Panels Work?


More than two million people in the United States use solar power for some or all of their energy needs. This number continues to rise each year and with good cause.

There are numerous benefits to solar power technology. Solar panels create renewable energy, which is better for the environment. It also saves money long-term by breaking a person’s dependency on the existing electricity grid.

However, many people have a lot of questions about solar power and how it works. For example, how do solar panels create usable electricity? What is solar power anyway?

Not understanding how this unique technology functions may cause many to hold back from having solar panel installation done at their own homes. To this end, continue reading to learn the answers to these pressing questions and more.

How Does the Sun Create Electricity?

Every person on Earth knows the sun provides light during the day. But did you know that light can be used for more than just creating Vitamin D or helping you see better?

The sun is a natural nuclear reactor that’s constantly releasing tiny packets of energy. These energy packets are called photons, and they travel fast. It takes photons less than ten minutes to travel the 93 million miles between the sun and Earth.

There are plenty of photons available, too. Theoretically, enough photons reach our planet every hour to take care of global energy requirements for an entire year. Thanks to its sustainability and effectiveness, solar energy was the world’s fastest-growing power source in 2017.

What Are Solar Panels?

Solar panels are pieces of technology created from numerous solar cells. A solar panel is a semiconductor with a positive layer and a negative layer. Similar to how a battery works, these positive and negative layers create a field of electricity.

How Do Solar Panels Harness Power From the Sun?

Solar panel energy happens when electrons are knocked loose from their photons. This creates DC electricity, which is one of two common electric types. DC electricity occurs when electrons flow around a circuit in a singular direction.

American power is primarily AC electricity. An inverter transfers the DC energy created by solar panels into usable AC electricity. According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, an inverter is critical for a solar energy setup.

Although the way an inverter works is complicated, we can summarize it. The most basic explanation is that an inverter switches the direction of DC electricity quickly. This turns the DC input into AC electricity.

If you still have questions about how an inverter or solar panels work, you can ask a local solar company. They can answer any questions you still have.

More Questions About Solar Panels?

Solar panels create usable electricity by harnessing the natural energy of the sun. The energy harnessed from the sun is a DC current, whereas the electricity used in America is AC. To turn this DC input into an AC current, an inverter is used.

Do you have more questions about solar panels?

Check out our other blogs. You’ll find articles on solar, sustainable living, and related topics to help you learn more on the subject.


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