As experts in solar power systems, we often are asked by nervous homeowners how solar panels work. They’re interested in saving money on electricity, trying to sell credits back to the electric company, or even the sunsetting benefit of tax benefits tied to solar power. It’s a valid question and something that most homeowners aren’t aware of- how do solar panels work to gather, convert, and store energy? It seems mystifying to many and yet it’s not as complex as homeowners think. In the following article, we’ll teach you how solar panels work and what you can expect.
What is Solar Energy
The sun is a huge source of energy. Shining almost daily, the sun produces energy in photons. Photons are light particles that penetrate our atmosphere to feed plants via photosynthesis and indirectly feed the animals and people who feed off of those plants. While animals and people die over time, taking millions of years to become fossil fuels, solar energy does not take that long to produce power. Instead, solar panels collect energy directly from the sun to power electricity including water heaters, and more. While fossil fuels are finite in their collection and usage, solar power is not finite. Instead, solar panels help to collect the power from the sun as a renewable clean energy source. Solar power systems installed on residences and commercial systems help to minimize our carbon footprint because solar panels help collect clean green renewable energy.
How Do Solar Panels Translate Into Electricity- What’s the Process?
Electricity is a fascinating topic and one that few homeowners understand, whether from their own electric company or because they are obtaining electricity in other ways. It’s something that homeowners often take for granted until they start to investigate solar panels and the power of solar energy.
Traditionally, electricity is the result of a current from charged particles. This includes both positively and negatively charged particles. As Paula Abdul once sang, opposites attract. Solar panels include this same current of negatively and positively charged particles. The sun hits the solar panels and creates a direct current from the negative side and positive side to create DC electricity.
As anyone who has bought new appliances knows, they traditionally run on AC power. If solar panels connect DC power, how does that translate to AC electricity? Solar power systems make use of an inverter to create AC electricity from the DC electricity that solar panels collect.
How Do Homeowners Cash In on their Solar Panels
Homeowners hear a lot that over time, their solar panels will pay for themselves or that they can become energy neutral as a result of their residential solar system. This is true because electricity in California is on the grid system. The grid allows for the production of energy that isn’t necessarily guaranteed. When people gather solar panels credit, they are able to sell it back to the electric company.
Even though homeowners who have not yet collected enough solar power from their solar panels to make money off of it are still dependent upon the electric company, there’s potential to overcome that. Over time, homeowners begin to walk away from needing to purchase electricity at off peak hours such as night time to earning enough credits to gain a check from the electric company based on their energy consolidation. At times, solar battery storage helps fill in the gaps as well.
Over time, the installation of solar panels is a very smart decision for homeowners. While the tax benefits are slowly going away, the benefits of reduced electricity bills and increased home resale value are huge for homeowners. If you’re curious about the benefits of solar power and solar panels, call Top Tier Home Energy experts at (949) 296-2296.