So, How Does Solar Energy Work?
Ever wondered how a bunch of black panels on a rooftop can power a home or business? Curious about how solar panels and solar energy systems merge to lower your utility costs each month? Well, you’re in the right place.
What is solar energy?
In simplest terms, it’s the energy that is projected from the sun to the Earth. Because the sun is a natural nuclear reactor it holds a lot of energy and this energy is released in small bundles of energy called photons. These photons travel across the vacuum of space and reach Earth in about 8 minutes and 20 seconds. This means that in just a single 60 minute period the amount of energy coming from the sun to Earth can power the entire globe for more than an entire year!
As photons from the sun plummet onto a solar panel they knock loose the electrons from their atoms and with conductors it forms an electrical circuit. This flow of electrons subsequently generates electricity that can power your home or business. We will string a set number of solar panels together, based on the demand of the infrastructure or home, to form a full solar array. Effectively with every new solar panel that is added, the capacity for energy production increases.
There are two types of electricity involved when generating solar energy that can be used in a home or business, direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). Photovoltaic solar panels (PV solar) naturally produce DC energy which is defined as when electrons consistently flow in a single direction around a circuit.
Think of a simple battery-powered light circuit, the electrons migrate from the negative side of the battery, up to the light, and then return to the positive side of the battery.
AC current, however, is when the movement of electrons shift from the positive side to the negative side at regular intervals. In the US, AC current is dominant in the electric power industry, as a result of Edison and Tesla’s War of Currents.
In order to get the DC electricity converted to AC energy that can be used, there must be a solar inverter present. Consider the inverter as the ‘brains of the operation’ it provides the voltage and current for AC circuits in the home. The inverter will also provide the AC current that is required to support the home or business, along with energy production monitoring.
At Creative Solar USA, we have adopted a system of inverters called micro-inverters. These micro-inverters attach to the back of each individual solar panel and then connect to every other panel in the array. This allows for more accurate system analysis and monitoring for your system, for example, if a specific panel is not producing energy as expected, that panel can be easily detected and diagnosed online through a portal. Otherwise, with a central inverter, it would give a signal that a panel wasn’t producing properly but there would be no indication as to which one.
Once the DC energy has been converted to AC energy through the micro-inverters it is then ready for use in the home or business. Pretty simple right?!
The solar energy array will constantly produce energy while the sun is out, however, when the sun goes down or during poor weather the solar array will not produce energy. And while you do not have to have an energy storage system to go solar, it does extensively help to lower your utility bills and can come in handy during a power outage.
A solar energy storage system allows you to keep the excess energy that you would normally send back to the grid. In many areas utility companies will offer net metering for energy that you send back to the grid with a dollar-for-dollar return, however many utility companies in Georgia set the ratio much, much lower (if even offered at all), making a battery storage system a great solution.
With a battery storage system, you can store any excess energy from your solar array and use it during peak rate times or when sunlight is not available. This not only keeps your home powered during an outage, but it also helps you reduce your monthly utility costs even more by allowing you to use that stored energy during a time when the utility rates are the highest (such as in the early evening when everyone comes home from work).
With constant technology improvements in photovoltaics (solar energy) the price tag for going solar is quickly falling, allowing more people than ever to save with solar energy.
We also offer ZERO DOLLARS DOWN financing options that give you ultimate control over your investment. Give us a call TODAY to schedule your FREE solar consultation!!