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How Is Solar Energy Converted into Electricity?

Solar panels generate electricity by harnessing the sun's energy through photovoltaic cells. These cells convert sunlight directly into electrical current by stimulating electrons in silicon, creating a flow of electricity. This renewable source is not only sustainable but also reduces carbon footprint. Curious about the science behind this clean energy transformation? Dive deeper to understand the fascinating process of solar power generation.
Editorial Team
Editorial Team

The investment in solar panels for your home or business may be something you are hoping to do, but you want to know how solar cells work and how solar energy can be a benefit to your home and your power needs. How can a solar panel generate electricity? 

Our team at SmartSolar is available to answer any of your questions, and we can help you to get the energy to start flowing for your home or business. You only have to contact us to learn more about how we can help you.

How Does Solar Power Work?

Solar power is generated from the sun. Solar panels convert energy from the sun—called solar radiation—into electricity that you can use for powering all of your appliances and for other applications. Solar panels can be used to generate electricity as well as to generate heat.

Solar panels capture the sun's rays by absorbing solar radiation. They can be mounted in your home, in areas where there is adequate sunlight for most of the day, such as on the rooftop. A second option is to use a solar farm, which is a large stretch of land with good direct sunlight where panels are placed.

How Is Electricity Generated?

Solar panels are made up of a material called silicon, which is derived from natural beach sand. The silicon is extracted and then sliced into thin wafers about the thickness of a sheet of paper. These solar cells are then placed into a metal frame with a glass casing. This design enables them to absorb solar energy

Once in place on the roof, the photons from the sun's light hit the thin layer of silicon on the solar panels. When that happens, the photons knock electrons off of the silicon atoms.

In this process, a photovoltaic charge occurs, which creates an electric current. Specifically, this process creates direct current or DC power. This is captured within the solar panel wiring. 

The DC electricity is then moved through a solar power inverter that helps to convert it into alternating current, or AC power. This is the type of power that is running through your home. 

The power is then routed to your home or through electric storage devices to hold onto it when you do not need it. It allows you to plug your appliances into the wall to power them up. The day-to-day application of getting power is no different than what you are used to.

Here's a short look at how solar panels work:

  • The solar panels are fitted to your roof using a metal frame. Glass casting covers the actual silicon cells to protect them.
  • When the sun's energy strikes the panels, the panel absorbs it.
  • That causes an electrical current that creates an electric field within the panel thanks to the extra electronics moving.
  • The panel captures that energy through the thin semiconductor wafer. It then sends this power to the inverter.
  • The inverter turns the direct current electricity into AC electricity. That is then moved to the electrical panel in your home.
  • The PV cells work continuously — that means when you plug in your system, the solar panels work nonstop to meet your power needs.

Solar Energy Technologies Are Changing

Electricity generated through solar panels is considered renewable energy because it does not run out (it will not run out until the sun stops shining). Because solar panels convert solar energy into the power you need, you are no longer reliant on fossil fuels like coal to power your home. It is the same AC electricity that your home needs, but it is now in a clean form.

Most modern solar systems need direct sunlight to work at their best. They do not work at night. However, there are some passive solar energy production options, meaning that when there is indirect sunlight, such as on a cloudy day, the solar power works just as it needs to, though you may not generate as much solar power during these instances.

The amount of power generated from solar panel systems is increasing. Without a doubt, these systems are more powerful today than they were. And you can expect systems to continue to be highly effective and improve overall functionality. They will also become more efficient.

Why Invest in Photovoltaic Technology?

The investment in PV cells may seem like a big one, but using the sun's energy provides you with a lot of benefits. You can use it to help with hot water production, power home appliances, and help support the reduction in carbon emissions, doing your part to reduce the risk of climate change.

Solar power is highly effective and works reliably in many areas in the Northern Hemisphere with ample reliability. It will produce more electricity in direct sunlight, but during most daylight hours, it will work to convert the sun's energy into power you can use. 

A solar power system could be an easy way for you to produce the electricity that you need, putting yourself off the grid. It also allows you to gain reliability that does not happen when you rely on solar power from your utility company and a storm comes along.

Let SmartSolar Help You Get Solar Power in Place

You can keep relying on your electric utility company, or you can start on the path to electricity generation with a solar power system. SmartSolar can help you. Contact us today to learn how.

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Editorial Team
Editorial Team
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