You’ve seen solar panels on homes and buildings around town, and you may have even heard about the many benefits of solar energy. But do you know how solar energy works?
Though it may sound complicated, solar energy works by simple scientific processes that take the energy released by the brightest star in our solar system, capture it in solar panels, and convert it into energy that powers your refrigerator, phone charger, HVAC, and every other electrical appliance or system in your home.
Read on to learn precisely how the sun’s rays have constant potential to generate clean, affordable, usable energy to power your home or commercial structure!
SOLAR ENERGY: OUR PASSION
Solar energy is, by definition, energy that is derived from particles of light from the sun. It takes nine minutes for the sun’s rays to reach Earth; and when those rays do reach Earth, they provide more energy than the Earth needs to power basic biological processes across the planet. Solar energy systems harness particles of light from the sun’s powerful rays and convert it into clean energy.
Sunlight has been powering biological processes on Earth for millions of years. Now, solar energy systems that include solar panels, converters, and backup batteries can capture these particles of light and convert them by the photovoltaic process into alternating currents to power your home with absolutely no pollution.
How Solar Energy Works
Though solar panels are low-profile, there’s actually quite a bit of scientific action going on within each one
when the sun is shining down upon them. Solar energy works like this:
Solar energy is driven by the photovoltaic process — which is just a fancy word for saying that solar energy works by way of knocking atoms from light particles loose in order to generate energy which is then captured and converted.
The sun’s rays hit photovoltaic cells within a solar panel. These cells are essentially pieces of silicon stuck together which serve as semiconductors. These cells allow the electrons in atoms to become knocked loose, which generates an electrical current.
This current is then captured by metal conducting plates on each cell that transfer the current to wiring within the solar panel. This wiring then takes the current to the converter, as would occur with any other electrical current, and converts it into an appropriate current (typically AC) to power your home.
So, all you need to power your home is a solar energy system and ideally a backup battery. A solar array
can allow you to completely separate yourself from the electrical grid (if you install a backup battery) because you’ll
be depending on the sun’s rays to power every aspect of your home.
The Anatomy of a Solar Energy System
A solar energy system includes a few essential pieces of hardware:
This one is obvious! This is where the magic happens — where electrons in particles of light are knocked loose, creating an electric current.
The inverter takes the electricity produced in the solar panels’ photovoltaic cells and converts it into alternating current (AC) to be compatible with the grid and most U.S. electrical appliances and technologies. From here it’s sent to the home’s electrical panel.
NET METERING HARDWARE
If you decide to participate in net metering, you’ll have a meter that tracks how much power you use from the grid, and how much surplus solar energy gets sent back to the grid (which will end up as a credit on your bill!).
We at ProSolar Florida only install systems using the highest-quality glass, UV resistant plastics, rust-free
aluminums, and more to ensure your solar energy system will live a long and issue-free life!
So how does Tesla Powerwall fit into this equation of solar panels, photovoltaic effect, and AC/DC conversions?
Solar energy works with or without Tesla Powerwall backup battery.
IF YOU HAVE TESLA POWERWALL
Your solar array will send all surplus energy to the backup battery during the day, and discharge it at night when the solar panels aren’t generating new electricity, giving you complete energy independence.
IF YOU DON’T HAVE TESLA POWERWALL
Your home will remain connected to the grid. Your solar array will generate energy during the day, but your home will revert back to deriving power from the grid at night or during severe weather.
How Solar Compares to Fossil Fuels
Solar energy surpasses fossil fuels (coal, crude oil, natural gas) in nearly every category,
from price to environmental impact.
- According to EnergySage, when comparing lowest prices per kWh, solar energy is significantly cheaper than fossil fuels, with the lowest price per kWh for solar at $0.029 compared to fossil fuels at $0.05.
- Water, air, and soil pollution are major concerns when it comes to fossil fuels. This sort of pollution is hard to avoid and even harder to reverse, and has detrimental effects on humans and animal life.
- Solar energy leaves no trace in air, water, or soil, and runs quietly while making no detrimental impact upon the environment.
NO GREENHOUSE GASES
- Solar energy plays no part in creating harmful greenhouse gases that are causing climate change, unlike fossil fuels which burn and release more and more tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. No carbon dioxide is emitted as your solar energy system generates power from the sun’s rays.
NO HARM TO THE WORLD’S ECOSYSTEMS
- Mining for coal, and drilling for crude oil and natural gas inevitably destroy valuable ecosystems around the world. Often they result in severe damage to the land and nearby habitats.
- Solar energy is easy to access: it simply looks to the sky for power that can be easily harnessed with the technology within solar panels, leaving the world’s ecosystems in peace.
Solar energy is THE cleanest, most affordable way to power your home
and become completely energy independent.