How Does Solar Power Work?

Interested in solar power but not sure how it actually works?

In this article, we will answer the most common questions we get about solar energy. 

How Does Solar Power Work?

A solar power system absorbs energy from the sun in the form of light, and converts in into electricity that can be used to power your home or business. This is possible because the sun is a nuclear reactor.

Due to the nuclear reactions taking place in the sun, it releases energy in the form of light. This light energy, or electromagnetic energy, is made up of tiny particles called photons that move in waves. When photons hit a solar cell on a solar panel, electrons come loose from their atoms. When these electrons touch the positive and negative layers of the solar cell, an electrical circuit is formed. When the electrons flow through the circuit, electricity is generated.

How Solar Works

What are solar panels made of?

Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are comprised of many solar cells. These solar cells are made of silicon. They have a positive layer and a negative layer, which create an electric field when they are hit with electrons, creating an electrical circuit. This function is similar to that of a battery. Multiple solar cells are linked together to create a solar panel. Solar panels can be connected to one another using wires to create a solar array. Connecting multiple solar panels together will maximize the amount of solar power that a system can create.

What is included in a solar power system?

A solar power system, also known as a photovoltaic (PV) system is comprised of solar panels, racks for putting the panels on your roof (or mounting them on the ground), electrical wiring, and an inverter. If the solar power system is not connected to an electrical grid (i.e. off-grid), the system will also include one or more batteries to store the generated electricity for later use.

How does solar power work?

How does a solar power system convert light into electricity?

From sunrise to sunset, the solar panels generate electricity (DC) which is sent to an inverter. The inverter converts the DC electricity into alternating current (AC), which is the type of electricity used to power our homes. The AC power is delivered directly to the main electrical service panel for use in your house. In off-grid installations, the excess energy is stored in batteries for later use. In some areas, installations are connected to the grid, and energy utility companies will buy back the surplus electricity from the home or business owner, further lowering energy costs.

While installing a solar power system on your home used to be very expensive, increased demand and improved technology have driven costs down significantly. The average home owner can now afford a solar power system and federal tax incentives make commercial installations more affordable and beneficial than ever before. Learn more about the tax incentives for commercial installations here.

Why Solar Power?

Every hour, enough solar energy hits the Earth to meet all the energy needs of humans for an entire year. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, solar only provides about 3% of the energy used in the United States. While that number might sound small, in the last few years, the availability of solar power has become more widespread and will continue to grow rapidly as solar technology continues to improve and become more affordable. Solar is currently the world’s fastest-growing energy source with China, the U.S., Japan, Germany, and several Middle Eastern countries leading the way with solar energy production. For the first time ever, the growth of solar power has outpaced that of any other fuel source. In the U.S. in 2023, solar and wind generated more energy than coal.

Star Solar Specialists Team

Invest in Your Future with Solar Power

We can install an affordable solar power system on your home or business that will provide energy savings. 

When you choose Star Solar Specialists for your solar power installation, you will get the best return on your investment. We will help you navigate confusing regulations to ensure that you get the maximum savings from federal, state, and local solar power incentives!

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Solar Power Benefits Everyone

Solar Power Benefits Everyone

Solar panels don’t just benefit those who have them, solar power benefits everyone when the economic, social, health, and environmental costs and benefits are accounted for.