Solar energy is becoming more and more realistic and practical for energy use nowadays. As of 2017, solar energy has become the world’s fastest growing source of power. This is the first time in history that solar energy’s growth has surpassed all other energy sources. Now more than ever is the time to invest in a solar panel array for your home. There are numerous benefits to switching to solar:
- Decreased energy bills.
- Benefits the environment.
- Panels last a long time (up to 40 years).
- Prices are going down.
But how exactly do solar panels work?
The sun releases energy constantly, each packet of energy released by the sun is called a photon. Those photons have a great deal of energy. They travel to the earth, and generate enough solar energy in one hour to satisfy our global energy need for a year!
Solar panels, commonly called photovoltaic solar panels, are made up of many solar cells. Solar cells are made of silicon, a conductive material, with a positive layer and a negative layer. The layers create an electric field, like a large battery. When the sun hits the solar panel, it knocks electrons loose from their atoms to generate an electric current. The panels convert the direct current energy to a new form that’s usable in a home. This usable energy is called alternating current electricity. Alternating current electricity is used for America’s power grid, so this electricity is able to be used in America’s homes.
Solar panels are made of a layer of silicon cells, metal frame, glass casing, and various wiring to give the current the ability to flow out of the cells. Silicon is a nonmetal substance with conductive properties. This makes it the perfect material to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity. The process of the silicon interacting with light is called the photovoltaic effect.
Solar panels have a coating that increases sunlight absorption and allows the silicon cells to receive maximum sunlight exposure. Silicon solar cells are manufactured in two formations. They come in either monocrystalline or polycrystalline form. Monocrystalline are made up of a single silicon crystal. Polycrystalline cells are made are fragments or shards of silicon. Monocrystalline provide more room for electrons to move around and are generally more efficient. However, they are more expensive on average.
What about when it’s not sunny, or when it’s nighttime?
Solar panels function on a system called “net metering”. Net metering is a term for the process of a utility billing mechanism that offers a credit to residential customers and businesses who are generating excess electricity through the solar panel systems and sending it back to the electrical grid.
A solar system normally generates more electricity than you consume during daylight hours. With net metering, homeowners are only billed for the “net” energy consumed every month. This refers to the difference between the energy produced by the solar power system, and the energy consumed by the house over the monthly billing period. Net metering saves homeowners hundreds on their utility bills every year.
Solar panels are a smart choice for energy, plain and simple. If you’re looking to upgrade your home’s energy source to solar, choose All Good Energy. From start to finish, our team is dedicated to doing what’s best for your home. Call us today to request a quote.