If you’ve been considering solar for any amount of time, then you might find yourself wondering, how does solar energy work? At Sun Badger Solar, we love breaking down and explaining how solar energy works.
This ultimate guide to solar energy explains how solar energy and solar panels can help turn the lights on in your home. Whether you’ve used solar panels on your home or business in the past, or you’re completely new to solar, you’ll find that there’s something you can learn here.
Let’s dive into what a solar energy system could do to help you reach your energy savings and energy efficiency goals.
How Solar Panels Work
Solar panels are pretty simple, really! Essentially what happens is that solar panels record the sun’s energy and then work to convert that energy into power for your home. After sunlight hits solar panels, it’s captured within photovoltaic cells and transported to an inverter where it’s converted from direct current DC electricity to usable AC electricity. From there, the electricity is ready to be used by you and your home or is sent out to the grid to be used by your neighbors. In some other cases, the power might be stored in battery banks such as the Tesla Powerwall.
Whether you choose to use a battery bank or not is completely up to you and often is determined by what you can afford. At Sun Badger, we encourage every customer that’s installing solar panels to consider also installing a solar battery bank. While the battery bank won’t allow you to completely separate yourself from the grid, it will limit your dependency on the grid.
Check out this video for more info on how solar panels work:
Components of a Solar Panel
The components of a solar panel aren’t as complex as you might think. Some of the first solar panels were developed in the late 1800’s. The most important solar panels component is the photovoltaic cells that capture sunlight and transfer the energy to the inverters that change the DC electricity to AC electricity. Each photovoltaic cell is contained within a larger silicon cell encased in glass and metal to protect it from weather and water damage.
The glass that covers the silicon PV (photovoltaic) cells is covered in an anti-reflective coating to help the panels collect the most sunlight possible and, in turn, generate an optimal amount of electricity. A solar inverter is the portion of the solar energy system that acts as the system’s power plant and converts the energy to alternating current (AC).
Returning Power to the Grid
After your solar energy system generates power, it has to go somewhere. Electricity isn’t like water or gas because it’s not able to live in the lines forever. Instead, it needs to either be used or moved to a new place. This is just one of the reasons we encourage homeowners to use a battery bank. Battery banks are the only way to store your solar power until you’re ready to use it.
But, on the chance that you’re not ready or able to get a battery bank installed in your home, you might be in luck! Many power companies offer a service referred to as net metering. Net metering is a way for solar energy systems to create electricity and then give what’s not used to the power company. Power companies can then offer you a credit to your electric bill for the power you’re providing to the grid. This is a great way to help maximize your investment in solar panels.
Tips for Shopping Solar
There are plenty of tips to consider if you’re looking to shop solar. Here are some of the tips that we consider to be the most helpful. First off, try to find those incentives!
If you feel like investing in solar might be too much of a stretch for you and your household, then you should be sure to look into the incentives that are offered through many power companies and the government. Yes, we said the government! In fact, a number of tax incentives include state and federal tax breaks for individuals and companies that choose to invest in solar for their home or business. Contact your local Sun Badger Solar representative to learn more about some of the different incentives that might be offered in your state.
Incentives from power companies can include discounts on your bill, net metering, or a one-time rebate on past bills. The best way to find out about what incentives your local power company offers is to check their website or give them a call. Most companies are very willing to talk about incentives when you reach out to them.
Choose the Right Solar Partner
The company that sells and installs your solar system isn’t just your solar installer; they’re your solar partner for years to come. When looking for a solar partner, find a local company with a reputation for quality work and service. You’ll want to be able to contact and work with your solar partner in case anything goes wrong in the future.
Compare Solar Panels
Different solar panels offer different advantages. Some might be more affordable today but don’t last quite as long, while others may be more expensive but, in turn, will last for years to come. At Sun Badger Solar, we only install the best solar panels that will continue to produce electricity for 25+ years at over 84% efficiency. That means more bang for your buck!