You already know that solar can dramatically reduce your electricity bill and shrink your carbon footprint.
But how does solar power work? How do the panels themselves help put money in your bank account and clean the planet?
The basic science behind solar energy goes back to the 1830s. But the first commercially viable silicon solar cell dates back to the 1950s. In the decades since, there’ve been many innovations and leaps. However, the overall design of today’s modern solar photovoltaic (PV) systems is pretty much the same.
Let’s review the mechanics of your solar PV installation.
How Does Solar Power Work on Your Home or Business?
The picture above and the sections down below walk you through a basic solar installation. Every system is slightly different, but the underlying design remains the same, whether you’re installing panels on a residential property or commercial one.
1. Solar Panels
Silicon-based solar PV panels are installed on your property (on the roof or on the ground). These PV cells capture free sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity for your home or business. Zero pollution. And there are no moving parts involved, which explains why a well installed solar PV system can last 40 years or longer.
Most of the appliances in your home are designed to run on alternating current (AC) electricity. And so the clean DC power from your solar PV panels must go through an inverter before you can begin using it.
3. Utility Meter
The newly converted AC power travels from the inverter to the electrical panel, often called a breaker box. This clean power is now ready for use in your home.
4. Exported Energy
This bidirectional utility meter continuously measures the electricity supply of your property. When your solar panels produce more power than you need, the meter spins backwards (literally). You’re basically selling excess electricity to the utility company – at a profit. This explains why some Southern Californian homes and businesses actually receive negative electricity bills month after month.
5. Utility Grid
At night time (or on super rainy days), you have the option of buying back electricity from the grid. The bidirectional meter moves in the opposite direction, helping to keep track of power coming in from the utility network.
Making Solar Work for You
As you can see, it’s not rocket science. Solar is a simple, yet powerful technology that offers instant savings and countless environmental benefits. And thanks to a range of local, state, and federal incentives, going solar has never been more affordable than it is today.
Better still, it costs you nothing to begin exploring your options. Request a free Maived Solar Energy inspection from our team today, and we’ll analyze your property’s energy generation potential.