How Do Solar Panels Generate Electricity?

How Do Solar Panels Generate Electricity?

How Do Solar Panels Generate Electricity?

Chances are, one of the top reasons you’re thinking about installing solar panels is the dramatic reduction in home energy costs.

A rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system can provide you with a reliable supply of free electricity, enough to power all of your household appliances and electronic devices. After going solar, you can say goodbye to high energy bills – your monthly costs for electricity will drop, and you may not even owe the utility company a dime.

If you’re curious about how that all happens, you came to the right place. Here’s how solar panels turn the power of the sun into power for your home.

Solar Panels Capture Sunlight

When sunlight shines down on earth, much of the energy it holds turns into heat. This is why your skin feels warm when you step outside on a bright sunny day.

However, when sunbeams hit solar panels, heat isn’t produced. Instead, the silicon cells the modules contain absorb the incoming energy, creating an electric voltage – a process known as the photovoltaic effect.  

An Inverter Makes the Solar Power Usable

The electricity produced by photovoltaic modules is direct current (DC). But our appliances and electronic devices don’t run on DC power – they require alternating current (AC) power.

A solar inverter solves this problem. Rooftop PV modules are wired together in a series, forming an array, and wires feed the DC electricity that’s generated to an inverter. This component takes the DC power and transforms it into AC electricity that can be immediately used in the home.  

A Meter Handles the Power Distribution  

With a rooftop PV system that’s connected to the utility grid, the AC electricity produced is fed into a device called a bi-directional meter. This meter handles the distribution of power into the home and sends any excess solar energy to the grid for use elsewhere.

The bi-directional meter doesn’t just give the utility company any extra electricity your solar panels create – it also tracks how much power flows from your PV system to the grid. You receive credit for that energy, which offsets your household power consumption and cancels out some or even all of the costs of your grid electricity usages. This is an incentive called net metering, and your photovoltaic contractor can tell you about the availability of the incentive or alternative programs in your area.

If you’re ready to power your home with solar energy, the experienced professional photovoltaic contractors at Nationwide Solar are here to help. We’re happy to answer your questions about rooftop PV systems, and our expert team can offer advice on roof repair, financing and sizing a solar array to meet your household energy needs.

Nationwide Solar offer free, no-obligation consultations to homeowners and businesses in Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Put in a call to us to get your solar panel project started today!

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