As experts in green solar panels with years of installation experience, the steps and reasons behind the installation of our products are obvious to us. But for those of you who don’t spend your working hours up on roofs installing green solar panels (and we are going to guess that is most of you!), you might have looked at solar panels and wondered “What do they do exactly, and how?”. You know that the end result is your home gets electricity from the sun, but how does that process actually happen? Well, if you have ever pondered this question you are in luck, as this blog will take you through the 5 steps of how green solar panels actually work!
So, how exactly do green solar panels make electricity?
Step 1: Sunlight triggers the solar panels
The way a solar panel is constructed is each individual panel consists of a layer of silicone cells, then a metal frame, then a glass casing (which is surrounded by a special film), and finally wiring. To make sure the cells achieve maximum efficiency and absorb as much sunlight as possible the panels are grouped together into what is known as “arrays” and then placed on the rooftop of the building, or for bigger projects in large outdoor areas. All of this allows the solar cells (also referred to as photovoltaic cells) to absorb that precious sunlight during the day.
Step 2: The cells then produce an electrical current
Each solar cell contains a thin semiconductor wafer that is made from two separate layers of silicon. One of these layers is positively charged, with the second layer being negatively charged. Together these two layers form an electric field. When solar energy from the sun hits the photovoltaic cell it energises the cell, which causes electrons to effectively come loose from the atoms within the semiconductor wafer. These loose electrons are then set into motion by the electric field that is surrounding the wafer, and it is this motion that creates the all-important electrical current!
Step 3: This electrical current is then converted into a usable AC current
So now that your green solar panels are working as they should and are transforming sunlight into electricity, what next? Well, the electricity generated from your green solar panels is not quite ready to be used to power your home or business, as the electricity will be direct current (DC), and needs to be alternating current (AC). Luckily, by using a simple gadget called an inverter it is a simple process to convert DC electricity into AC electricity. In our modern solar panel solutions we can configure an inverter for your entire solar panel system.
Step 4: The converted energy can now power your home
Your inverter has now converted your original DC electricity into AC electricity, which means it is now suitable to be run through your electrical panel and distributed throughout your home to power lighting and appliances. You don’t have to make any other changes to your home to start using this solar energy as this works in exactly the same way as the normal electricity you would use that is taken from the grid by your electricity provider. We should stress that you will still be connected to the grid and will still need an electricity provider to make sure you still have access to power, as although green solar panels can provide you with green solar electricity, it may not be enough to continuously power your home without outside help from the grid.
Step 5: Measure your usage with a net meter
Once everything is installed and working as it should, you want to get the maximum value from your solar installation. This is where net metering comes into play. There will inevitably be days that are super cloudy where your green solar panels cannot get enough sunlight to begin storing energy, alternatively, there may be times when there is no one home and energy is not being used. A net meter will measure the electricity flowing both to and from your home, so you only draw power from the grid when you need to (on cloudy days), but can also send surplus electricity back into the grid for when you’re not using it. This ensures you are getting the maximum value from your green solar panels.
Begin your green energy journey with Orton & Wenlock
So now that you know exactly how green solar panels work, why not join the green revolution yourself? Our expert team are always on hand to discuss how our solar solutions could work best for your home or business. Contact us today to begin your green energy journey!