How do solar panels work for your home? Step by step overview (1)

Solar panels work by absorbing sunlight with photovoltaic cells, generating direct current (DC) energy and then converting it to usable alternating current (AC) energy with the help of inverter technology. AC energy then flows through the home’s electrical panel and is distributed accordingly. Here are the main steps for how solar panels work for your home:

  1. Photovoltaic cells absorb the sun’s energy and convert it to DC electricity
  2. The solar inverter converts DC electricity from your solar modules to AC electricity, which is used by most home appliances
  3. Electricity flows through your home, powering electronic devices
  4. Excess electricity produced by solar panels is fed to the electric grid

How do solar panels work to generate electricity? (1)

A standard solar panel (also known as a solar module) consists of a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing, and various wiring to allow current to flow from the silicon cells. Silicon (atomic #14 on the periodic table) is a nonmetal with conductive properties that allow it to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity. When light interacts with a silicon cell, it causes electrons to be set into motion, which initiates a flow of electric current. This is known as the “photovoltaic effect,” and it describes the general functionality of solar panel technology.

 

Does it need to be hot for solar panels to work? (2)

Solar panels produce more electricity in summer, which can make it seem like they need warmer weather to work. But this isn’t the case – it’s just that stronger sunlight and warmer temperatures often go hand in hand. In fact, if the temperature gets too hot (or too cold), solar panels become less efficient.

Because we get over 8 hours of sunlight a day all year round and don’t often experience extreme temperatures, the UK is quite well suited to solar power.

 

What are some of the advantages of solar power? (2)

  • Solar panels give you guaranteed power when the sun is shining – providing a consistent, stable form of generation throughout the day.
  • Solar panels don’t need as much space as other renewable technologies and can be installed in a wide range of places. From larger, countryside solar farms that can support local biodiversity [2] by providing an undisturbed habitat for bees, butterflies and nesting birds, to rooftop panels in city centres that can help combat fuel poverty.
  • After they’ve been installed, solar panels need little to no maintenance – just occasional cleaning to keep them clear of dirt and debris.
  • Solar panels don’t create any noise pollution while generating electricity. This means that installations aren’t intrusive – whether they’re in crowded urban locations or quiet rural ones.
  • Solar panels are very safe. They’re mostly made from silicon sheets, and there’s no danger of the photovoltaic cells leaking or emitting any toxins or fumes.

 

Sources:

(1) – https://news.energysage.com/solar-panels-work/

(2) – https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/how-do-solar-panels-work/