How Solar Works

How Do Solar Panels Work?

A solar (or photovoltaic) cell has two main silicon layers: a top, phosphorus-diffused layer that carries electrons and is negatively charged, and a thicker, boron-doped bottom layer that contains holes, or absences of electrons and is positively charged. The electrical imbalance between these two layers is essentially what makes solar power possible: light radiation causes each layer’s positive and negative charge carriers to be released in the cells and in turn, causes electrical current (direct current) to flow.

solar on roof

In more detail, the process is as follows:

  • Solar radiation in the form of photons hits and penetrates the solar panel cells.
  • These photons activate electrons in both the top and bottom silicon layers of a solar cell.
  • Some of these activated electrons sling-shot from the bottom to the top of the cell.
  • As they move, the electrons flow into metal contacts as electricity and move into a circuit that runs throughout the 60-cell solar panel.
  • The electrons flow through this closed circuit and eventually come back to the cell via a solid contact layer at its bottom.

If you have more questions about how solar panels work or how we can help you harness the sun's power, contact our team today.

How Solar Panels Work
solar panels at sunset

What Is Solar Energy?

The sun is a huge nuclear furnace that gives off energy in the form of light and heat. Our sun emits light waves in all directions, some of which reach our planet. When these light waves hit something, they cause it to vibrate or oscillate, creating energy. To make electricity, solar panels use this light to make solar cells produce an electric current that you can then use to power your home or business.

solar battery

How Do Batteries Work With Solar?

The electricity generated by your solar panels is stored in batteries for use at night or other times when the sun isn’t shining. You can think of it as a cushion or safety net between your distribution panel and your household, so if a power outage ever occurs, your solar battery can turn on and disconnect from the distribution panel. Solar panels are turned off during a power outage as a safety measure for the people who are working to get the power back on.

You get to specify the rooms or appliances that the battery will power, and your battery provides you with a way to store your solar power as well as a form of energy independence. You don’t have to install a battery with your solar panel system, but they’re a great way to provide backup power and help you save on utility rates.

person holding stack of cash

How Does Solar Saves You Money?

Many people who are considering switching to solar are asking themselves “is solar worth it?” While installing solar panels is definitely an investment, it’s one that pays off in the long run. There are also a variety of tax breaks at both the federal and state levels to help offset the initial cost of installing solar panels.

Solar panels save you money by reducing your electricity bill, but the amount of energy you’ll be able to generate (and the amount you save) is dependent on a few factors. In order to understand exactly how much your solar panels will save you, you’ll need to calculate how much you’re spending on electricity every year. The price of energy is continuing to go up, but the price of installing solar panels has dropped and will likely continue to drop. Plus, solar panels are long-lasting and require little maintenance or upkeep. A solar professional will help you understand the size of panels you’ll need and the placement that will allow you to maximize the amount of energy you can capture.

solar panels covered with snow

How Does Weather Affect Solar Energy?

Weather conditions do affect how much energy you can capture and store, but not in the way you may think. A bright sunny day is the best condition for solar capture, but solar panels continue to capture energy on cloudy days, and they are actually more effective and efficient in cold weather than warm weather.

Ready To Make The Switch To Solar?

Think solar may be right for you or have questions for our team? Contact SolarTyme today to get started!

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