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How Does Solar Energy Generate Electricity?

How Does Solar Energy Generate Electricity?

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Lack of information is one of the most common reasons that homeowners may hesitate to purchase solar panels. You may be hesitating for a similar reason.

If so, read on. This article, How Does Solar Power Generate Electricity, will explain how solar power works in simple terms. This information may convince you to make a final decision.

What is Solar Energy?

As life consists of atoms, sunlight consists of photons. These are tiny energy particles that can travel like waves at the speed of light. They travel from the sun to the Earth’s surface and things on the Earth.

Once there, these photons become a part of many natural processes. For example, plants use the process of photosynthesis to convert sunlight into the food they need to survive. They also play a large part in the weather processes that provide rain and snow.

In a similar way to these processes, we can convert these photons into a form that is useful for us: electricity.

What is a Solar Panel?

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(Note: There are technically two types of solar panels. This article focuses on the photovoltaic type alone.)

The middle section of each solar panel is like a sandwich of three different materials. On one side is a negatively charged element (phosphorus) and on the other a positive-charged element (boron). In the middle of these layers is another element (usually silicon).

Beyond the positive and negative layers are a metal frame, a glass casing, a special film, and wiring.

How is Solar Power Generated?

Once the photon hits the cells of the silicon layer, the process begins. This action knocks electrons within the atoms of silicon free. These negatively charged particles then move towards the positive-charged protons.

This movement generates a current of energy. In technical terms, this is direct current or DC.

How is DC Converted into AC?

Except with certain specialized appliances, DC electricity is useless. If there was no way to convert DC into the more common alternating current or AC, this form of green energy wouldn't be as practical. In addition, a solar home value wouldn't be as high.

Luckily, a machine known as a solar inverter can take care of the conversion process.

There are two major forms of these. String inverters connect to all the panels in an array. In the case of microinverters, each panel has its own personal inverter.

After Reading How Does Solar Energy Generate Electricity, Read Other Articles

If you're still having trouble understanding solar power, don't be afraid to reach out for answers. You can probably find answers to your questions by calling experts at various solar companies. You may also find answers in various online forums and social media subgroups.

In addition, you can find a lot more information about solar energy, green energy, and other topics in our other articles. After you're finished reading How Does Solar Power Generated Electricity, check out our other articles. With so many options and topics, you should find something you'll like.

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