How Solar Energy Systems Work?

Published October 2013 by

As the solar industry grows across California more and more people are interested in installing solar power systems in their home, but they don’t quite know how they work. Although solar energy is widely used in homes, few people understand the technology needed to turn warm sunshine into electricity. Professionals solar specialists, found throughout the Sacramento area, are extensively knowledgeable on the principles of converting solar energy into electrical power. Therefore, they are the first you should consult if you’re considering installing a solar system or need maintenance on your current panels and/or other parts of your solar power system.

Solar power systems have been in use for decades. In fact, as early as 1958, solar energy was being used to power satellites in space. The technology has since been developed and adopted in millions of homes around the world. There may come a time where nearly all of the energy we need will come from the sun. Since the sun emits an average of more than 1000 watts per square meter on a sunny day, this type of solar revolution is closer and more plausible than you might think.

Instead of receiving energy from a far off power plant, homeowners will generate electricity onsite using solar panels attached to their house. Solar panels and other solar energy harnessing systems work by converting the sun’s rays into electrical power. Photovoltaic solar panels made of silicon, which is a semi conductor, convert solar energy into direct current (DC). The panels are mounted to tracks that are attached to your roof. These tracks and panels are designed to handle basic variations in weather and should undergo periodic maintenance.

Once the light energy is absorbed, it triggers the flow of electrons within the silicon. There is an existent electrical field within the silicon which aligns the flow of electrons towards a specific direction, boosting the energy potency of the panels. The electrons subsequently hit the metal contacts on the ends of the Silicon where they are transferred as electrical energy. This flows into an inverter in your home that converts the DC to alternating current (AC) power, which can be used to power lights, motors, electronics, etc. In order to get the most effective power to your home, your panels must have a combined wattage higher than that of the devices you wish to power.

A typical solar panel produces about 200 watts, or 0.20kw, of power per hour of direct sunlight, which will decrease by about 20% during non-direct hours. The average home uses about 958kw of power per month. Therefore, you should install a system that generates at least that much power over the course of the month. Yet, this is an average which means that certain months you will require more power and you should probably build your system accordingly. Of course, you can measure your average usage using your meter to determine your true power requirements. If you produce extra energy you will either receive credits on your monthly utility bill or payment for contributing to the grid. There is no harm in producing extra energy that’s free and environmentally-friendly because you’ll reap the benefits of that.

Solar system are fairly straightforward and increasingly commonplace across California. You have the system installed, the panels convert the rays to energy and you get free, clean power for your household. Generally speaking, solar power systems pay for themselves in 2-3 years, but save the planet for years to come. Call today for more information or to setup a consultation.

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