How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels have been rising in popularity in recent years. A lot of it has to do with its cost-saving abilities, as well as recent technological improvements. But do you know how they work? Here we lay out a step-by-step guide to all there is to know about solar panels, and how they bring energy to your home or business.

Step 1: Solar panels collect sunlightHow Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels, obviously, collect sunlight. They do this by using photovoltaic cells within each solar panel to absorb photons, the particles that make up light.

Step 2: Electrons flow, generating electricity

Once those photons hit the solar panel and interact with the photovoltaic cells, then electrons begin to move, creating a flow of electric current. In this process, the photons are converted into direct current (DC) electricity.

Step 3: DC is converted to AC

DC electricity cannot power a building on its own, that’s why an inverter is used to convert it into alternating current (AC) electricity. The reason DC electricity is converted to AC electricity in the first place is because AC electricity constantly changes polarity at a high speed. As such, it works better at high voltages than DC electricity, which only flows in one direction.

Step 4: AC flows to the breaker box, then to appliances

Once the DC electricity is converted to AC electricity, the AC electricity then flows to the breaker box. From there, it’s directed to each of the appliances inside a building that are using electricity.

Step 5: Unneeded electricity goes to the grid

As the electricity is distributed to each appliance, there will likely be leftover electricity that is not needed. This electricity is sent to a utility meter, and then into the utility electrical grid.

Still have questions about how solar panels work? Then feel free to give Empire Clean Energy Supply a call at 631-589-4340. We can run through the basics of solar energy, as well as provide you with options for equipping your home or business with solar panels.