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How Solar Panels Work: A Guide for Homeowners

Are you considering making the switch to solar energy for your home? Solar panels have become increasingly popular as a clean and renewable energy source. In this article, we’ll provide a guide on how solar panels work and answer common questions for homeowners considering the switch.

Solar panel technology harnesses the energy from the sun, using it to generate electricity for homes and businesses. Australia has been experiencing a solar boom in recent years with more Aussies taking it up to reduce their energy costs and help the environment. This guide will cover the following topics:

solar pv cell

How Solar Panels Work: Step by Step

In its most simplest form, a solar panel system consists of the following components:

what does a solar panel do
Solar panels

The panels themselves that capture the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity before passing it along to your inverter.

what does a solar inverter do

Converts the direct current (DC) electricity generated by the solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity that can be used in homes and businesses.

what does a solar battery do

Stores any excess electricity generated by the solar panels. This energy can be used at night when your solar panels and not providing any electricity.

How Do These Components Work Together?

Solar panels convert sunlight into DC electricity: The solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells that use the photovoltaic effect to convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity.

Inverter converts DC electricity into AC electricity: The DC electricity generated by the solar panels is then fed into an inverter which converts it into alternating current (AC) electricity. This type of electricity can be used in homes and businesses.

Battery stores excess electricity for later use: If the solar panels generate more electricity than the home or business is using, the excess electricity is stored in a battery for later use.

how solar panels work

How Solar Panels Generate Electricity: The Photovoltaic Effect

The photovoltaic effect refers to the phenomenon where certain materials, known as photovoltaic cells, generate an electric current when exposed to light. The photovoltaic effect was first observed in 1839 and is the basis of how solar panels work.

Photovoltaic (PV) cells are made from semiconducting materials, such as silicon, that have the ability to absorb photons of light and release electrons. When the electrons are released, they create an electric current that can be used to generate electricity. This process is known as the photovoltaic effect and it is what makes it possible for solar panels to convert light energy into electrical energy.

How Is The Photovoltaic Effect Used In Solar Panels?

In solar panels, the photovoltaic effect is used by the PV cells to convert sunlight into electricity. A solar panel is made up of many individual PV cells joined together. When sunlight is absorbed by the PV cells, it causes the electrons in the cells to become excited and start moving, generating an electrical current. This electrical current is then captured and directed out of the panel to your inverter, creating electricity.

How Much Sunlight Is Converted To Electricity?

The efficiency of solar panels refers to the amount of sunlight that is converted into usable electricity. Modern solar panels have efficiencies ranging from 15-25%, meaning that 15-25% of the sunlight that strikes the panels is converted into electricity. The efficiency of solar panels is constantly improving, with researchers working on new technologies to increase the efficiency of solar panels even further.

Some Common Questions We Get Asked About Solar Panels

Can You Run Your House Completely on Solar Panels?

There are three main factors that determine if a home can run completely on solar panels:

  • Energy consumption: The amount of energy a household consumes on a daily basis is the primary factor in determining if a home can run solely on solar panels.
  • System size: The size of the solar panel system needed to meet a household’s energy needs is based on the energy consumption. A larger system will be needed for a home with higher energy consumption.
  • Location and climate: The amount of sunlight a location receives and the climate conditions also play a role in determining if a home can run completely on solar panels.
can solar power your home

While running your home completely on solar panels may not be feasible for everyone, there are still many benefits to using solar energy. It can reduce your carbon footprint and lower your monthly energy costs. We recently went over how to choose the right solar system for your home, so check that out if you want to know more.

Do Solar Panels Need to be Cleaned?

Dirt and debris on the surface of solar panels can impact their efficiency. Regular cleaning can help maintain the panels’ maximum efficiency and ensure they are functioning at their best. The frequency of cleaning needed depends on the location and climate. For example, panels in dusty or sandy environments may need to be cleaned more frequently than those in more temperate climates.

For the most part, the occasional downpour of rain will be all you need to keep the panels clean. As your solar panels are installed on an angle, water can freely run off which makes the task much easier if you need to give them a hosing. If you notice a drop off in the power being generated by your solar panels and you havent had rain in a while, giving them a quick spray is a solid idea.

Do Solar Panels Need to be Cleaned

Do Solar Panels Need Maintenance?

Solar requires very little maintenance for the most part but it doesnt hurt to do the occasional checkup. The components of a solar panel system that may need maintenance include the solar panels, inverter, and battery. Regular checks on the system, such as monitoring the battery levels, can help prevent any potential problems and ensure that the system is working effectively.

You will be able to access monitoring apps for your solar power system and these can let you know when something is awry. If you think your solar system is in need of a little TLC, we recommend getting in touch with a solar professional to take a look. We offer solar system maintenance as a service and have also written an article detailing some tips when it comes to performing maintenance on your solar power system.

Do Solar Panels Need Maintenance

Want To Save On Energy Bills? Go Solar With A Trusted Supplier

Now we have a good idea as to how solar panels work, we can better understand what our investment into solar power represents. The fact is solar will save you money while also reducing your carbon footprint which is vital for our environment. The best way to find out if solar is right for you is to talk with one of our solar consultants. They can establish your current usage and evaluate what solar system is right for your home.

To talk with one of our consultants about making the change to solar, call us on 1800 255 474. You can also fill in the form below to have us get back to you when it suits.

Get An Online Quote For Solar Power From Your Local Solar Specialists

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