The world is aiming for an almost impossible achievement. We have to bring down the energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to net-zero by 2050.
Yet, it’s possible if the world rushes the adoption of sustainable practices. Using renewable energy is the key. As of today, the energy economy still relies on fossil fuels.
Still, more countries are installing renewable energy sources, like solar and wind. Solar systems, in particular, are increasing in availability and accessibility to residential homes.
Before you can adopt it, consider learning more about it. How do solar panels work on a house? Read on for the five things you must know.
1. What Is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is the energy coming from the sun. It’s the most abundant source, and it’s renewable as long as the sun exists.
The sun produces trillions of watts of energy at any given time. Around 173,000 terawatts hit the Earth continuously. It’s about ten times more than what the whole world needs.
If we fully harness it, we can rid ourselves of our dependence on fossil fuels, making for a cleaner and healthier environment. However, we need to convert it to solar power.
What is solar power? It’s solar energy after converting it into electricity. We create thermal or electrical energy from sunlight using photovoltaics (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP), or a combination of both.
Solar panels use the former, wherein the photovoltaic cells create electrical charges after absorbing sunlight. CSP uses mirrors to concentrate light. Knowing these is crucial to learning how solar panels work on a house.
2. How Do Solar Panels Work?
Let’s learn more about the photovoltaic effect. It’s the process of generating an electric current when a PV cell gets exposed to sunlight.
A single solar panel can have 32 to 96 of these cells. Each consists of layers of semi-conducting material. Silicon is the most common choice, making up 95 percent of solar cells today.
The cell has to create an electric field. To do that, it must have a negative and positive electrical charge. Manufacturers achieve this by treating a layer with either boron or phosphorous.
The boron-treated layer gets a positive charge because of the few electrons. The layer doped with phosphorous is negative due to the added extra electrons.
When sunlight interacts with the cell, the photon causes the electron to move. The electric field then pushes it out.
The metal plates in the cell collect those electrons and transfer them into the wires. The wires create an electric flow to the next step.
3. How Does The Electrical Current Travel Through The House?
The energy produced from the photovoltaic effect is DC electricity. Most appliances use AC. The United States chose it for its cheaper transmitting costs.
The wires take the electricity into an inverter, which switches the current’s direction. This process turns DC into AC. Some systems have transformers, which regulate the voltage.
The AC then travels into your electric box. This component disperses the electricity throughout your home via the wires and outlets. Whenever you plug in an appliance, an electric current is available.
4. Where Does Excess Solar Power Go?
Can you produce more solar power than you use in a day? On sunny days, it happens. The good news is you have an option to sell the excess or keep it.
Yes, you can sell the energy produced. The excess goes to the grid automatically so others may use it. In turn, your provider gives you credit for the power your system puts into the grid.
You can use the credits for the electricity you draw from the grid during nighttime or low production days. It’s a system called “net metering,” where a net meter records the amount of energy sent and received from the grid.
What if your property has no connection to the grid? You can add a battery to your home solar system.
In simple terms, the battery is where you store the excess solar energy in DC form for use later. You charge and draw power from it when needed.
Having a battery is a must for homes in off-grid locations. Some systems use a combination of both, which is expensive but ideal. To know more about pricing, click for solar panel cost.
5. Does The Weather Affect Energy Production?
The energy from your solar panel system is dependent on the amount of sunlight it absorbs. It also depends on the efficiency of your system – the quality of the semi-conductors, the wires, and the inverter. That said, the short answer is yes since the weather affects how much power you can get in a day.
A clear, sunny day has the perfect conditions for maximum production. You’ll likely get near the maximum of your panels’ rating.
Your solar system can still generate electricity on a cloudy day. Sunlight can still penetrate clouds, after all. However, the efficiency drops by 10 to 25%.
That’s why the location is an important consideration when installing solar systems. Houses in cloudy and foggy areas need more panels to account for the efficiency loss. Cities like New York and Milwaukee, which experience all sorts of inclement weather, still enjoy huge savings with solar.
Did you know that solar panels work better in cold weather? As with most electronics, the system generates more electricity in the same conditions and time when it’s cool. Still, the sunlight available on cooler days limits production.
How Do Solar Panels Work On A House? Learn More Today
Our simple explanation answered the question, “how do solar panels work on a house?” Today’s technology is the most efficient we have for now.
As the industry grows, we might discover new solutions to make solar systems more affordable and efficient. The time when the whole world enjoys the benefits of using solar is still far.
Did you find this guide helpful? To learn more, check out our other posts now.