How Does Home Solar Energy Work?

Solar panels use energy from the sun and convert it into electricity, but what you might not know is how exactly the sun’s rays are converted to energy with your solar system. Let’s take a look at how an at-home solar energy system works!

How Solar Panels Work 

Solar panels work by allowing the sun’s rays to interact with atoms in photovoltaic cells to generate a flow of electricity. Each solar panel is composed of around 60-72 solar cells that are linked together. Each of these cells contains positive and negative layers that combine to form an electrical field—perfect for creating energy! 

Inside the top silicon layer is phosphorus which creates a negative charge, while the boron in the bottom layer provides the positive charge. 

These two fields interact and turn the rays from the sun into energy that then flows from your solar panels to your inverter. The more solar panels you install, the more energy you will generate. 

Related: 4 Things to Know About Home Solar Energy 

Components of Solar Panels 

The most important parts of a solar panel are the photovoltaic cells that capture sunlight and then transfer the energy to the inverter. Each photovoltaic cell is encapsulated within a larger silicon cell that is encased in glass and metal to protect it from inclement weather and water damage. 

The glass that covers the photovoltaic cells is covered in an anti-reflective coating to help the panels collect the most energy from the sun as possible, and, in turn, generate the optimal amount of energy. 

What is a Solar Inverter?

A solar inverter is the system’s “power plant” that converts the energy to alternating current (AC). Think of a solar inverter as a translator. It translates solar energy from DC into the type of electricity (AC) that can be used in your house. 

How Solar Energy Works: Step by Step

Step 1:

Sunlight hits the charged layers of your solar panels, and the photons and electrons interact to create an electrical current. 

Step 2:

The electrical current flows from your solar panels down to the solar inverter, where the energy generated from your panels is converted into usable energy for your home. 

Step 3:

The energy flows from the inverter into the breaker box in your home, which can then be used throughout your home.

Step 4: 

Any unused energy will flow back to your utility meter and remain available for later consumption. In many states like Florida, homeowners have the option to return the unused energy to the electrical grid in the form of energy credits on their next power bill. This is called net metering. 

Solar Energy at Night 

Solar panels need sunlight to generate electricity, but the sun does not shine at night. To power your home at night, you can install a grid-tied solar panel system, where you rely on getting the power at night from your utility company, or a backup battery where excess energy will be stored when you need it the most. 

Learn more: Solar 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Going Solar

Make Solar Power Work for Your Home 

Ready to install solar panels at your home or business? Say yes to solar with Solar Bear! We are Florida’s efficient energy authorities for Tampa, Orlando, Sarasota, and all over Florida! 

Call us today for your solar, spray foam insulation, and energy efficiency needs—Solar Bear Orlando: