Understanding how solar panels work

More and more homeowners and businesses are seeking to move away from non-renewable energy, and opt for clean energy options like solar panels that allow them to reduce their carbon footprint. While you’ve probably seen solar panels atop many roofs, do you know how they work? In this article, we’ll discuss what solar panels are made of, how they generate electricity, and how weather conditions affect the production of solar energy. 

What are solar panels made of? 

Solar panels are made of several materials including silicon, metal, and glass. Most solar panels are either made from monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon, then covered by a protective layer of plexiglass. Metal attachments are used to affix the panels to the roof. 

While there are several different types of solar panels available on the market today, you’ll find that they’re all made from the same key materials listed above. 

How solar panels generate electricity in 4 steps 

  1. Sunlight hits a solar panel and the energy particles (called photons) are converted into electrons. 
  2. The converted electrons move through the solar panel and are converted into direct current energy. 
  3. The direct current energy is sent to the solar inverter where it is converted into alternating current power, which is the type of energy used to power your home.
  4. The alternating current power is then sent to your appliances, air conditioning system, heating system, and other systems throughout your home.

How does weather affect solar energy? 

Many people think you need constant sunny days to make solar panels worth it, but solar panels can still generate electricity on cloudy days and in other not-so-favorable weather conditions. Believe it or not, solar panels are actually more efficient in colder temperatures than in warmer temperatures, meaning people who live in colder climates can also benefit from home solar systems. 

We recommend installing a solar storage battery for any extra power your panels generate. The battery will release the stored energy when it’s needed – perhaps overnight or when you go a while without a sunny day. 

For more information about how solar panels work, or if you have any questions about home solar systems in NJ, please contact our team at Green House Solar today. We’re proud to provide market-leading home solar systems, including top-rated solar panels, and we look forward to hearing from you.