How does Solar Energy work?
Solar Electric Systems (also known as Photovoltaic Systems) convert the energy from sunlight directly into electricity. Photovoltaic (PV) cells are made primarily of silicon, the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust, and the same semiconductor material used for computers. When the silicon is combined with one or more other materials, it exhibits unique electrical properties in the presence of sunlight. Electrons are excited by the light and move through the silicon. This is known as the photovoltaic effect and results in direct current (DC) electricity which through inverters turn into AC power for your business or home.
PV modules have no moving parts, virtually maintenance-free, and a working life of over 25 years. The first solar cells developed by Bell Labs over 50 years ago are still working today. Satellites that were launched 50 years ago are still circling the globe and are powered by solar panels.
- PV cells (photovoltaic), the smallest unit of a PV system, are wired together to form modules.
- Modules are usually a sealed or encapsulated unit that make a solar panel.
- When modules (solar panels) are wired or grouped together they form an array, generating electricity.
When the solar electric system generates more electricity than you use, the excess goes to the utility company (grid) and turns the utility meter backwards. In the evening or on a cloudy/rainy day, the property receives the electricity from the grid and the meter runs forward. The net difference between the excess solar electric contribution to the grid and your use from the grid is called net-metering.
Essentially, the only difference after going with a solar installation is your electric bill. A drastically lower electric bill, thanks to the technology behind these modules and the sun.