Solar Energy for Homes: How Do Solar Panels Work?

Posted August 2, 2022 by in Lifestyle

There are enough solar systems installed to power more than 23.3 million homes. Adding a solar system to your home is common, but many homeowners don’t understand what that actually means. So how could adding a few black panels to your roof lower your electricity bills? 

Understanding how solar panels work can help you make an informed decision about whether you should install a solar system on your home. 

solar panels on brick house

What Are Solar Panels Made Of? 

There is more than one type of solar panel that can get installed on your home’s roof. Monocrystalline solar panels are made from pure silicone and have the longest lifespan. Polycrystalline solar panels are made from pieces of melted silicone and have a shorter lifespan. 

Polycrystalline panels have become more popular because they are more affordable than the monocrystalline version. However, they have a lower efficiency rate and shorter lifespan. You can click this link to speak with an expert about what type of solar panels would be best for your home. 

Both types of panels have a glass front coated in anti-reflective material to trap light and increase the panel’s efficiency. 

How Do Solar Panels Work? 

Once installed, the panels create solar energy for homes by trapping the light particles or photons that come into contact with the panels. The system converts these atoms and turns them into free electrons. Because there are multiple panels connected to each other, a large number of free electrons get created. 

When enough electrons are created, there is a notable voltage or electrical charge. The larger the system, the greater the power charge. This is why different-sized homes need varying solar systems. 

The voltage charge created by the system is not compatible with your home’s electrical system in its raw state. This is direct current, also known as DC. Modern homes use alternating current or AC. 

An inverter takes the DC electricity flowing from the solar system and converts it into AC electricity. It can then power your home. 

Additional Solar System Components 

While the panels and inverter are the primary components, other additional pieces help your system run efficiently and safely. A battery stores extra electricity produced and provides you with a power supply when it’s rainy or cloudy and your system isn’t running at full capacity. 

There should be a monitoring system that tracks the performance of your system. It will alert you to defaults, bad modules, or even when it’s time to clean your panels. 

The mounting system is the metal framework that your panels get attached to. There are cable channels to keep everything neat and tidy. 

Finally, a net meter tracks the production performance of your system. The power company uses the net meter to measure the energy flow from your system and if your energy consumption exceeds production. 

Install Solar Panels on Your Home 

Now that you understand how solar panels work, you are ready to consider installing them on your home. Perhaps you value the reduced carbon footprint. Or maybe you are looking for relief from sky-high electrical bills. 

Check out our other home articles and get inspired to plan your next home improvement project.