How Does Solar Energy Work?

Solar energy is becoming more and more popular. Not only is it being used on large plots of land to create ‘solar farms’, but homeowners are installing panels on their roofs. Large buildings like schools and some businesses are utilizing them to help lessen energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint. There are a variety of applications for solar energy, but most people are hesitant to invest because the technology is still so new and they don’t quite know why solar is the right option for them.

Understanding How Solar Energy Actually Works

You should never invest in something that you don’t feel convinced about. This applies to anything you might purchase, from cars, to homes, and even something as small as a new pair of shoes! Before purchasing a customized solar panel solution, it’s important that you understand how solar energy works, and how it can be used in your life.

How Does Sunlight Get Captured?

While there are a number of different solar panels, they all will function in essentially the same fashion. A solar panel can also be referred to as a ‘photovoltaic module’, and covering those modules are photovoltaic cells (PVs). PVs, or solar cells, are small devices that capture sunlight and convert it into electricity through a physical and chemical reaction. The amount of sunlight is detected by infrared components.

What Happens Next?

The sunlight that’s absorbed by the PVs is then converted into direct current (DC) electricity. The amount of DC electricity is dependent on how many solar panels you have installed, and how much sunlight is hitting those panels on any given day. Then, the DC power then reaches an inverter, where it is converted to alternating current (AC) power. You might recognize that name, since it’s the same type of electricity used in buildings. From there, the inverter output reaches the electric panel, which is what distributes it throughout the building to be used in AC outlets.

How Does Solar Energy Save Me Money?

When you get solar panels installed, the utility company needs to change your existing meter (what monitors your electricity use) into what’s known as a ‘Net Meter’. Whenever your solar panel installation generates more electricity that you’re actively using, the net meter will report this information to the utility company, and you gain credit that will offset your next utility bill. This is how you save money! When it’s night, or there are low levels of sunlight, you will switch back to taking power from the power grid in your area.

Solar Panels Can Change Your Life

There are a wide variety of application for solar energy. On a smaller scale, homeowners can save money due to the process we described above. For farmers or other agricultural businesses, solar panels can be installed in different locations throughout the property in order to power remote buildings, ventilation systems, and even a large electric fence for cattle! How you use solar energy is sometimes up to your imagination, so reach out to a local solar energy expert in Connecticut to find out what’s best for you.