How solar works

Learn How a solar system creates energy for your home.

How does a solar panel work?

Solar panels absorb sunlight with photovoltaic cells, generating direct current (DC) energy. An inverter then converts the DC energy to alternating current (AC) energy, the kind that powers our everyday appliances.

Now let's get a little more technical

Image of Solar Panels in a field with the sun shining

Solar Panel Components

The solar cell is the most basic component of a solar panel. Silicon cells that are connected together create a solar panel.

A solar panel consists of a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing and wiring that allows current to flow from other silicon cells. Silicon has conductive properties that allow it to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity. When light interacts with a silicon cell, it causes electrons to be set in motion, and that motion creates a flow of electric currents (photovoltaic effect).

Photovoltaic Process

A solar panel also includes a glass casing that offers protection for the silicon cells. This tempered glass is tested under severe conditions to ensure it can withstand various environmental threats. The solar panel also has a layer for insulation and a protective back sheet, which helps against heat dissipation and humidity. The insulation is also important because an increase in temperature will lead to a decrease in efficiency, which can lower energy production.

A Solar Radiation Diagram

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