Mastering Solar Power Basics: How Does Solar Power Work?

Aug 10


Christopher Lollini

Christopher Lollini

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Solar power systems are fairly simple in their operation and understanding how all the parts work together can help you get the most out of your system. Ensuring you combine the best components to serve your power needs will enable you to get the highest output of your alternative energy system over time.


So you're asking yourself how does solar power work?  Well,Mastering Solar Power Basics: How Does Solar Power Work? Articles the concept of turning the power of the sun into useful electricity was conceived over a hundred years ago and has been steadily improved ever since. Even though there are several ways to achieve this conversion of sunlight to electricity in a commercial setting, it was the invention and subsequent improvements to photovoltaic technology that has made it feasible for residential installations. These modern solar power systems consist of a small collection of components that work together to harvest the sun and supply it to your home. By apply a few simple solar power basics and using this free solar power, you can lower or even eliminate your monthly power bill. Many of these systems can pay for themselves in a few years and will continue to deliver this free solar power for decades to come. If you are asking yourself the question "how does solar power work?", you only need to do a little research to understand what's involved.

How Solar Panels Work

The first component to consider when trying to understand solar power basics is the solar panel itself. These panels are typically mounted to the roof of a home, but could also be located on a pole or ground frame nearby. They need to have adequate sunlight exposure throughout the day and should be facing south for the best possible production of solar power for your home. So how solar panels work is that inside each of the panels is a collection of solar cells that are able to produce a small electrical current when exposed to sunlight through a process known as the photovoltaic effect. Even though this current is small for each individual solar cell, when they are connected together in a group their output can be quite substantial when generating solar power for the home. Most homes have a group of these solar energy panels in the system that can generate all the power their home requires.

Solar Power Inverter

These solar panels generate a DC current as part of their conversion process that needs to be converted to AC current before this electricity can be used by your home appliances. This is accomplished through the use of a device called a solar power inverter. The inverter is connected to your home's electrical system and converts this DC current to AC current and supplies it to your home when your home solar power system is active. If your home solar power system is generating more power than you are using, the inverter will send the excess power back up the power lines to the local utility and generate an energy credit for you. This credit can be applied to the power you'll need to buy back energy from the local utility company in the evenings when your system is inactive. If you size your system correctly this back and forth trading of power should cancel each other out and you'll be left without a power bill each month. The solar power inverter is also the part of the system that switches your home between solar power that you are producing during the day and utility supplied power you are purchasing in the evenings.

Solar Power Battery

The last component that some solar power for homes systems include is a set of batteries. These are completely optional in your system, but if installed they can store the excess power your system produces during the day for later use at night. Some homeowners use this power first in the evenings before switching to utility supplied power to lower their energy bills even further. Other homes keep this reserve of power separate for use in the event of a power outage in their area. This way their home can still be powered by the energy stored in their batteries until the local power is restored after the blackout.  I hope that answered your question about "how does solar power work?"