Solar Energy: A Guide To Understanding Solar Power
Solar energy is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source in the world. It’s one of the best energy options for residential and commercial properties looking to reduce their carbon footprint and lower their energy bills.
But how exactly does solar energy work to turn the sun’s power into electrical power? Here’s what you need to know about solar power and how you can use it in your own home.
How does solar energy work?
Solar energy works by capturing the sun’s power, called photons, and turning it into electricity that can be used by a home or business. Photons travel 93 million miles from the sun to the Earth in 8.5 minutes. Enough photons impact our planet that we could generate enough solar power for an entire year in a single hour.
Photons knock electrons loose from their atoms when they hit a solar cell on a piece of solar technology. When conducts are attached to the positive and negative sides of the solar cell, it creates an electrical circuit.
Electronics flow through this circuit, which generates electricity. Multiple solar cells make up a single solar panel and multiple solar panels can be wired together to create a solar array. The more solar panels you have, the more electricity you can generate.
Solar technology has improved in recent years, making our ability to harness the power of the sun for electrical needs that much easier. Right now, photovoltaic power accounts for approximately 1% of the energy consumed in the United States.
How do solar panels generate electricity?
The sun’s power doesn’t automatically make electricity. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels generate direct current (DC) electricity when photons release their electrons. Electrons flow in one direction around a circuit in DC electricity.
However, alternating current (AC) electricity is used for the U.S. electrical power grid. An inverter is used to turn DC electricity into AC electricity so you can use it to power your home or business.
Want to know more about solar PV systems?
It’s no secret that solar power can help to lower your home’s energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint. In fact, installing solar panels can decrease your home’s carbon footprint by up to 35,180 pounds of carbon dioxide on average per year.