Solar works when photons hit a solar cell, they knock electrons loose from their atoms. When electrons flow through such a circuit, they generate electricity. … Multiple cells make up a solar panel, and multiple panels (modules) can be wired together to form a solar array.
Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are made up of many solar cells. Solar cells are made of silicon, like semiconductors. They are constructed with a positive layer and a negative layer, which together create an electric field, just like in a battery. Since you want to learn how solar works, check out our post – 5 questions to see if solar is right for you.
PV solar panels generate direct current (DC) electricity. With DC electricity, electrons flow in one direction around a circuit. This example shows a battery powering a light bulb. The electrons move from the negative side of the battery, through the lamp, and return to the positive side of the battery.
One example of how solar works is With AC (alternating current) electricity, electrons are pushed and pulled, periodically reversing direction, much like the cylinder of a car’s engine. Generators create AC electricity when a coil of wire is spun next to a magnet. Knowing how solar works with many different energy sources can “turn the handle” of this generator, such as gas or diesel fuel, hydroelectricity, nuclear, coal, wind, or solar.
The best part is, when your home produces electricity from its own solar panels, it doesn’t need to purchase electricity from the grid or utility company. In fact, any unused electricity not used to power your home is actually worth money when sold back to the utility. For example, if your panels generate 5 kilowatts (kW) of power but only use 3 kW in your home, you can sell two kilowatts (kW) of “excess” power back to the utility company for a credit on your electric bill. This system provides homeowners with savings beyond their solar panel investment through a combination of reduced utility bills and net metering credits.
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