Solar panels rely on a tiny component called a photovoltaic cell. These cells are typically constructed from silicon.
1. When the sun shines on a solar panel, the photons are absorbed by the silicon cells.
2. The photons of sunlight knock electrons out of the silicon atoms, which are now free to move. They travel through the layers of the cell, creating an electrical current.
3. The electric current flows to the edge of the panel, funneling into a conductive wire. This wire delivers the electricity to the inverter, which converts the direct current (DC) energy into alternating current (AC) energy, which is what is used to power buildings.
4. This electricity then transfers to the building. If the solar panels are connected to the utility meter, excess electricity is transferred to the utility grid, or to the homeowners battery for using at a time of their convenience.
The best place to install solar power is on the south-facing section of an unshaded roof. This gives the panels the best environment in which to generate electricity. Other orientations (having the panels facing a different direction) of solar panels will still work, and contrary to popular belief you don’t need constant sunshine beating down on them.
Yes! Solar power can be stored, as long as you have the necessary equipment to do so. All you need is a solar power storage battery capable of drawing electricity from your PV panel system and saving it for later use. Using a battery like this is the only way that you can store solar power and prevent it leaving the system if it is not used.
Yes, solar power can run a house – and can even be used for other things like charging electric cars.
The simple answer is that yes, solar power works on cloudy days. As the photons inside solar panels that are responsible for creating electricity can be stimulated by any visual light, they work in the same way as normal on cloudy or overcast days. Effectively, if it’s light enough for you to see your solar panels, it’s light enough for the solar panels to work.
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