According to a government analysis, homeowners generate approximately 40 percent of their electricity through rooftop-mounted solar panels.
This figure varies by region and the number of panels homeowners employ, but, for the most part, you can expect a massive reduction of your utility bill and your carbon footprint when you install solar panels.
But how do solar panels work? The answer is in particles generated by the sun, streaming to the Earth at the speed of light.
Once here, that electricity flows from your panels to your light fixtures, appliance, even your neighbors home. The grid your community shares benefits when there are solar panels on top of your home.
In the following article, we’ll discuss how to use solar panels and if solar panels are a good investment.
Pros and Cons of Solar Power
Solar power reduced your carbon footprint and helped you further the cause of sustainable, renewable energy.
Also, you will experience real-time savings on your utility bill. Of course, you’ll still need some power from your local utility grid because of the lack of sunshine at night, but the savings you’ll receive can offset the cost of the panels’ installation over the lifetime of the solar system.
That said, it’s important to note that today’s panels have a life expectancy of about 25 to 30 years.
However, you need to recognize that your savings won’t be as great if you lease the panels from a solar company. Buying the system outright, although more expensive, will maximize your return on investment.
Also, not every home can handle the load or configuration of the solar panels.
How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic or PV cells. These photovoltaic cells were first explained by French scientist Edmond Becquerel in 1839. Since then, the capability and energy generation of PV cells have increased manifold.
Furthermore, as the popularity and capacity of the cells have grown, so has their price decreased and longevity increased.
The cells are made of silicon mixed, usually with boron and phosphorous. The boron-infused silicon makes a positively charged side, and the phosphorous silicone makes a negative side.
Between the two types of silicon is a wire or mech conductive material. When photons are emitted from the sun in the form of light, they knock electrons loose from the silicon. These electrons then attempt to travel from the positive silicon to the negative.
However, the electrons get caught in the conductive material. These electrons moving along the wire creates electricity in the form of direct current (DC).
Direct current isn’t a usable form of electricity, so you need to convert it to a form that is. A piece of equipment dubbed an inverter transforms the energy into usable alternating current (AC).
The alternative current then journeys to your home’s meter.
The Grid and You
Your meter will roll backward if you generate more power than you use. When it does, your utility will issue you a credit on our bill for the excess power. This is net metering.
One way to maximize the use of your panels is to connect a backup battery to the system. The battery will help decrease your reliance on the grid at night when the panels are not generating power when connected.
Even with the question “How do solar panels work?” answered, there are still several factors to consider when contemplating installing solar panels. For example, you need to determine your power consumption, the number of panels you need, and if your roof can handle the weight of the panels.
The best way to answer many of these questions is to reach out to a licensed solar panel installer. They can help you answer the big question: Are solar panels a good investment?
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