How Does Solar Work?

Solar panel against blue sky

Solar power has become a mainstream source of power in America, and that popularity is only expected to grow in the years ahead. While only six percent of U.S. homes are currently outfitted with solar panels, 46 percent of American homeowners say they’ve given thought to installing solar panels on their home.

If you also find yourself considering the benefits of solar power for your home or business, you probably have questions about how this technology works, what kind of benefits you can expect, and how to start the process of purchasing and installing this renewable energy solution. With that in mind, here’s a brief overview of this innovative, cost-effective and environmentally friendly power source.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

On the most basic level, solar panels are pieces of hardware comprised of solar cells made from a number of different materials that capture solar radiation, called photons, inside the solar panel. The panel’s internal components then use this energy to generate AC electricity that can be used in a home or business to power all of appliances, light bulbs, and other electrical needs.

The amount of energy created by solar panels will depend on several factors, including the amount of solar panel surface area to capture light energy, as well as the amount of sunlight exposure the panel receives in a given day.

(How Does Solar Panel Energy Work) to Power My Home or Business?

As solar panels generate electricity from captured light, the electricity can be sent into your home or business by feeding that energy into cables running into the building’s electrical box. Once the energy is in your home or business, it can be used to power your property’s energy needs just the same as any other power source.

One important consideration for solar panels is that they’re only able to generate energy when sunlight is available to convert into electricity. Unless you have a battery storage system to capture and preserve solar energy, your property’s solar panels will not be able to supply your property with electricity at night, when heavy cloud coverage limits sunlight availability, or if the panels become obstructed in any way.

For this reason, many homes and businesses that install solar panels remain connected to alternative power sources coming from a local power grid. This ensures steady access to electricity even in situations were solar panels are unable to meet your demands.

What are the Benefits of Installing Solar Panels?

The value of solar panels can’t be summed up by any single benefit. In reality, your home or business will likely enjoy a number of benefits as a result of installing solar panels on your building—although some benefits may be more important to you than others.

The biggest benefits that attract property owners to solar panel installation include the following:

  • Long-term cost savings. While solar panel installation comes with higher up-front costs than supplying your property with power from the grid, the energy itself is far more efficient and cost-effective over time. Recent research on solar panel efficiency has found that solar power is now the cheapest energy source in the world.
  • Increased property value. Once you’ve paid to install solar panels on your home, you’ll also enjoy a nice increase in property value if and when you decide to sell that property.
  • Increased energy independence. Even if you don’t rely on solar power exclusively, you’ll be less dependent on your local energy grid, and could maintain power supply to your home even in situations where local power supplies have gone out.
  • Reduced reliance on fossil fuels. As a clean, renewable energy, solar power reduces the consumption of fossil fuels to power your home.
  • Potential energy credits for sharing energy with your local power grid. In many municipalities, property owners who can’t use all of their generated solar power are able to receive energy credits in exchange for transferring that energy generation into the local energy grid.

Where Can I Find the Best Solar Panels for My Home?

Because solar panels need to be properly installed to maximize their energy-creation abilities—and to make sure your roof and building aren’t damaged by the installation itself—it’s important to have your solar panel systems installed by a professional solar panel company.

These companies provide a number of resources and services aimed at making your solar panel installation as valuable and successful as possible. These experts will assess your home and sun availability to make sure you have a good location to set up solar panels, and they will also make sure your property is supplied with enough panels to meet your home’s energy needs.

Solar power companies can also offer guidance in financing your project. Depending on your location and your timing when choosing to install solar panels, you may be able to fund your installation project through tax credits, grants, rebates, and/or special financing offered for solar panel projects.

No matter what path you choose, it all starts with requesting a free assessment and quote from a local solar panel installation company. Interested in learning more, or ready to take the first step toward renewable energy for your home or business? Contact a local provider today.