How Do Solar Panels Produce Energy?

Oct. 19, 2021

A solar panel system generates free electricity using clean, renewable energy from the sun, allowing you to cut your electricity costs and your carbon footprint. Have you ever wondered how this is possible? 

Keep reading to learn how solar panels work and how you can use solar energy to your advantage!  

 

First Thing’s First: What Is Solar Energy? 

Solar energy is the term we use to describe sunlight that has been converted into thermal or electrical energy. Solar energy is the most abundant clean energy resource available to us. It can be used to power our homes and buildings, heat water, charge electric vehicles, and much more.

 

The Photovoltaic Effect 

Solar power often feels like magic, but there is a technology behind it, called solar photovoltaics. This is not the only solar energy technology, but it is the most common, especially for residential and commercial solar power generation. 

Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels generate electricity using a naturally occurring process called the photovoltaic effect. Think of the photovoltaic effect as a special ability certain materials possess that allows them to generate an electric current when exposed to sunlight. Materials that have this ability are called semiconductors. Silicon is the most commonly used semiconductor in solar PV panels. 

Solar PV panels contain silicon cells, which use the photovoltaic effect to generate electricity. When a silicon cell is hit with sunlight, its electrons start to move. This creates an electrical current called direct current (DC) electricity. The DC current is then captured by wires and fed into a solar inverter, which converts it into alternating current (AC) electricity. The electrical grid (and all of the homes and buildings connected to it) use AC electricity, which is why this step is necessary.

 

How A Solar Panel System Works Step by Step 

These are the main points of how solar panels work for a house or commercial building: 

  1. Sunlight beams down and hits the solar panels. 
  2. PV cells inside the solar panels absorb that sunlight. 
  3. DC electricity is created. 
  4. The DC electricity is collected and sent to a solar inverter. 
  5. The inverter transforms the DC electricity into AC electricity. 
  6. AC electricity is sent to your home or business and used to power electric devices. 
  7. Excess electricity is sent to a solar battery for storage or to your local grid in a process called net metering

 

Produce Your Own Free Renewable Energy With Solar Panels 

Thinking about home solar installation? Ready to invest in solar panels for your business? Call Boston Solar today! We are a top-rated and trusted  solar company in the Boston area, and we’ve completed more than 4,800 solar installations. 

Whether you’re looking for a residential or commercial solar panel system or solar batteries, we are the solar power company for you. Our team is here to answer any questions you may have about solar energy, from how solar panels work for your home or business, to how much energy home solar panels produce. Schedule a solar consultation today to get started!   


Generate your own clean electricity for free with solar panels. Call 617-858-1645or contact us to schedule a solar consultation. 

How Do Solar Panels Produce Energy?
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