A Beginner's Guide To How Solar Panels Work

A Beginner’s Guide To How Solar Panels Work

Solar systems to generate electricity in homes are becoming increasingly popular with homeowners, not just for the financial benefits but also as the focus intensifies on the desire for increased use of renewable energy sources. However, many people still need to learn how solar systems work, mainly how solar panels can transform light from the sun or any other source into usable domestic electricity.

In this beginner’s guide, we will discuss the basic principles behind solar panels and how they can be used to produce electricity for homes. Fear not; we will not make it so technical that you would need a solar energy or electrical engineering degree to understand it.

What Are Solar Panels?

Let us start with the absolute basics: answering the question, “What are solar panels?” just in case anyone reading is unaware of them. Solar panels are devices within a solar power system that convert sunlight into electricity and can be used for residential and commercial properties. They comprise numerous photovoltaic (PV) cells, composed mainly of silicon and some other materials.

When sunlight hits these PV cells, it causes electrons to move, creating an electrical current. At this stage, the electricity produced is direct current (DC), akin to the electricity supplied by the battery and alternator within your car, so it has to be converted into alternating current (AC) for use in domestic properties.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

The whole process of converting sunlight into electricity has three functions: collection, storage, and usage, and these require four components: solar panels, charge controllers, inverters, and storage batteries. Solar panels act as collectors, and they work by transforming sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity.