How Does Solar Power 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 the sun projects to the Earth. 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. Every new solar panel increased the energy production.
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.