The Sun is aPowerful Force!
Everything begins with our sun’s rays. Sunlight bombards our planet with solar radiation.
Most of us know it as UVA and UVB radiation. A great deal of those rays are reflected back into space but there’s an ample amount of that energy that’s soaked up by the earth in order to fuel houses all over the planet. Regrettably technological know-how has not caught up with our fantastic ideas to help save our planet however you are able to do your part with residential solar electricity using photovoltaic cells (Solar Panels).
Photovoltaic cells are flat panels designed to catch the suns energy and convert it into energy. Just like lying out on a blanket in the backyard, the more flat surface there is for the sun to strike, the more potential for heat (energy). This is why solar panels must be so large – larger amount of energy needed = larger solar panel real estate. Inside these panels is a semiconductor compound such as silicone that is specifically suited to absorbing the energy from the sun.
OK so now we have this great flat panel of silicone getting hot but we still don’t know how solar panels work – how do they convert that absorbed sunlight into energy?
Basically, the first stage of the process is when the energy from the absorbed light has been transferred to the semiconductor. Now, I am really simplifying here, but this energy from the sun jars electrons loose, so they begin flowing freely. Photovoltaic cells also have at least one electric field that serves to direct the freed electrons in a specific direction – creating a current. Now you have an electric current and all you have to do is tap into it by attaching metal contacts on the top and bottom of the cell, the current can be drawn off to be used externally. How solar panels work is by combining positive and negative charges to create free flowing electrons that can be tapped for energy.
Some important stages on how solar energy works.
All light contains energy. When light hits a surface, it usually turns into heat (think sitting out in the sun!). But when light hits certain surfaces, it turns in to electrical energy. Solar works by using photovoltaic solar panels to collect photons from the suns rays. These photons push electrons through the silicon wafer cells. The transfer of photons pushing electrons creates an electrical current.
Since solar panels create DC (Direct Current) electricity and our home appliances use AC (Alternating Current) electricity, an inverter must be used to change the DC to AC. DC electricity is a one way street flowing around a circuit. Think of a battery powering a fan. Electrons start at the negative side of the battery and flow to the fan, then return to the positive side of the battery. With AC electricity electrons are pushed and pulled in both directions, rapidly reversing direction. A little piece of history for you here: AC electricity was chosen for power grid mostly because it was the cheapest method to transmit over long distances.
This newly made AC electricity is sent to your home’s main breaker panel. From the breaker panel, the energy is first used in your home and any extra is flows out to the electrical grid. Your utility meter will record this outflow of energy and record a credit to be used later when the sun goes down.
Electricity to Home
Your solar produced electricity is used in your home.
A net energy meter is used by your utility provider to record both how much energy you consume and how much energy you back feed to the grid. At the end of the month, you are billed for the net amount of energy you have used. (your consumption minus the amount you backfed to the grid). During sunny summer months you may actually produce more than you use. In that case, the excess energy in kilowatt-hours will be credited to your next month’s bill.
Electricity to Grid
The clean energy you haven’t used is sent out to the grid for all to enjoy!
Our highly accredited team provides residential and commercial customers with exceptional customer service and workmanship for solar installation throughout Southeast Queensland. What’s more, we’re driven by a real purpose to make the world a better place.