The sun is the greatest source of energy in our entire solar system. Not only is it the basis for all life here on Earth by providing light and heat, it also emits energy carrying particles known as photons. These invisible photons travel at the speed of light carrying the potential to power our entire planet.
So How Do Solar Panels Actually Work?
Solar panels are designed to absorb and filter the photons released by the sun. Solar panels are composed of many different smaller photovoltaic cells linked together. These photovoltaic cells consist of two layers of a semi-conducting material such as silicon. Phosphorus is added into the top layer of silicon, which increases the amount of electrons to create a negative charge, while the bottom layer is treated with boron, which subtracts electrons, giving it a positive charge. This creates an electric field between the two silicon layers. When the photons from sunlight hit these photovoltaic cells, electrons are knocked free from the atomic structure. The electric field then pushes these newly separated electrons out of the silicon junction, creating energy.
Why Do I Need An Inverter?
After your home has been fitted with solar panels an inverter needs to be installed. Solar panels convert photons from the sun into direct current (DC) electricity. Direct current electricity cycles electrons in a single direction circuit. The United States primarily uses alternating current (AC) electricity where the electrons are pushed and pulled. In order to utilize the energy generated form the solar panels an inverter is installed to convert the DC power from the panels into AC current that your home or business can utilize.
What Is Net Metering?
Unless you’ve chosen to live completely off the grid in a cabin deep in the woods, chances are that you are adding solar panels to a home or business that is already connected to the electrical grid. Depending on your chosen solar system and amount of panels there may be times where your panels produce TOO MUCH energy. This overflow energy can actually be sold back to the utility company through a process called Net Metering. When your home needs more energy than your solar panels are producing, you can use the energy credits from your excess energy to reduce your energy bill. While not all utility companies offer net metering, if you happen to live in an area that does it can be one of the greatest benefits of adding a solar panel system. A two-way meter can help keep track of the energy sent to the grid along with the energy received from it.
Solar power is the fastest growing renewable energy source around the globe, and its projected to make up to 60% of new renewable-based power capacity globally over the next five years . Solar energy currently accounts for around 2% of the power generated in the United States but as the technology continues to improve, the cost of adding solar panels will continue to decrease as demand continues to rise. With lower costs and high demand, the time to invest in renewable solar energy for your home is now.