Solar Facts

How Does Solar Energy Work?

Have you ever looked at the solar panels on roofs and wondered what they do, and how?

The shimmering glass is just one component in a complex network that harnesses the sun’s renewable energy to deliver electricity to the home within.

Step 1:  Sunlight Activates the Panels

  • Before the sun hits the solar
    cell, an electric potential must be
  • Adding phosphorus to the top layer of silicon gives it an overall positive charge.
  • Adding boron to the bottom
    layer of silicon gives an overall
    negative charge.
  • The panels are grouped together and placed on rooftops or in large outdoor spaces.

Step 2:  The Cells Produce Electrical Current

  • When the sun’s rays hit the silicon molecules from both layers, an electron is
    knocked loose.
  • Those loose electrons are set into motion by the electric field surrounding the wafer, and this motion creates an electrical current.

Step 3: The Electrical Energy Is Converted

  • Because opposite charges attract, these electrons are attracted to the top phospho-
    rous layer and repelled from the bottom boron layer.
  • Enphase is the latest technology and more efficient.
  • The SolarEdge model has more limitations regarding scalability when compared to Enphase microinverters.
  • SolarEdge systems are also limited to the size of the central inverter which can intake a certain number of solar panels.
  • Enphase microinverters have higher flexibility to scale by simply adding solar panels with compatible microinverters.

Step 4:  The Converted Electricity Powers Your Home

  • Electrons travel through the top layer to the metallic strips, which collect them and send them down a wire to provide power.
  • The solar energy has been converted from DC to AC electricity, it runs through your electrical panel and is distributed within the home to power your appliances.
  • It works the same way as the electrical power generated through the grid by your electric utility company, so nothing within the home needs to change.
  • Since you still remain connected to your traditional power company, you can automatically draw additional electricity to supplement any solar shortages from the grid.

Step 5:  A Net Meter Measures Usage

  • The electrons can then be sent back to the bottom metal backing of the solar
  • This returns the electrons, so the process can continue.
  • A meter is used to measure the electricity flowing in both directions to and from your home.

Summary

  • Now that you know the basics about solar energy, you can marvel at how today’s photovoltaic technology can capture the vast power of the sun to operate a home and reduce your home expenses.

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