How Do Rooftop Solar Panels Work?

The sun, like a giant furnace in the sky, provides rooftop solar panel systems with the limitless fuel they need to produce power. Humans, ingenious species that we are, have developed the technology to harness this immense energy source from millions of miles away, and use it to power the world.

What’s great about solar power is that the sun is an infinitely renewable source of electricity. Photovoltaic panels convert the endless supply of sun’s rays directly into electricity, providing inexpensive and independent power. But how does this happen?

Solar Panels Basics

Our story starts with the most important component of a rooftop panel: the solar cell.

These cells are constructed of one or two layers of semi-conductor wafers that are usually silicon-based. When the sun’s rays hit these wafers, the solar cell generates an electrical charge, thanks to a phenomenon called the photovoltaic effect.

Essentially, this effect creates voltage from photons that flow in a steady electrical current from one side to another. The solar modules found in rooftop panels are made from dozens of these photovoltaic cells, all packaged together.

The panels then are placed on the roof of your home or business at an angle designed to maximize their exposure to direct sunlight during the day.

Power Plus Stats

Most of the appliances in your home or office run on alternating current. The electricity solar cells generate is direct current, however, so you need an inverter to transform the current from direct to alternating.

Today’s inverters are highly sophisticated, especially compared to older designs. Consequently, they are now capable of providing data for solar panel performance and other grid services.

Grid Compatibility

Grid compatibility is important because solar homes use the power their panels generate for only a portion of their electricity needs.

If you need extra power beyond your system’s capacity, like when there’s a day when the sun just doesn’t shine, you must rely on local utilities for backup. So, unless you add backup power capabilities to your system, you have to remain connected to the municipal power grid.

To play nice with the grid, your rooftop must integrate seamlessly into the existing electricity service.

Lower Your Energy Costs

Photovoltaic panels, depending on system size, may not meet all of your electricity needs all the time. They can, however, save you a significant amount of money on your monthly energy costs.

If you implement other energy-cutting strategies, including installing passive solar and LED light bulbs, for example, you can more easily meet all of your power needs with a PV panel array.

Intermountain Wind & Solar, serving customers in Wyoming, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Colorado, is committed to helping you save money and reduce your dependence on electric utility company services. Contact us today to learn more about adding a rooftop solar power system to your home or business.

Power Your Home with Solar

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