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  • Sunshine City Solar

Components of a Solar Power System

There are five key components in a home solar panel system: the sun, the power grid, an electrical panel, an inverter, and solar panels. Let's see how each of these work together to create a complete solar panel system.

Solar Energy is Drawn From the Sun

All solar systems harness energy from the sun and then convert that energy into electricity you can use. A standard solar panel is made up of a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing, and wiring that lets current flow from the silicon cells. When sunlight interacts with a silicon cell, it causes electrons to be set into motion, which starts a flow of electric current, known as the photovoltaic effect. Therefore, the panels generate direct current (DC) electricity when sunlight touches them. As long as the sun is shining, your panels can generate energy, and even on cloudy days, your panels can still generate electricity from the sun's rays that break through the clouds. How much electricity a panel can make depends on many factors, including the temperature, time of day, placement of panels, type of panels, etc. The best way to determine the amount of energy a panel can produce is by looking at the efficiency rating, the higher the efficiency rating, the greater the potential is for more energy production.

The Inverter Converts the Energy

After the solar panels capture direct current electricity, they must feed it to a solar inverter. The grid, and appliances in your home, run on alternating current (AC) electricity. Therefore, the inverter must take the DC electricity collected from your panels and convert it into AC electricity in order for it to create power you can use. There are two common types of inverters: string inverters and microinverters. A string inverter is mounted to the side of your home, and it collects all of the electricity generated by your system in one place. Microinverters are small components that are attached to the underside of each individual solar panel, allowing DC to be converted to AC right at the panel. For more information on which inverter system is right for you, talk to your solar adviser.

Your Home is Powered by Solar

Solar panels are hooked up to your home's electrical panel, which distributes energy to your home as needed and is connected to every appliance on your electrical system (your air conditioning system, dishwasher, refrigerator, electric vehicle, etc.).

Power is Sent to the Grid

Any excess energy that your home is not using is sent to the grid; if you are using power at times when your panels aren't producing electricity, or using more energy than your panels produce, energy will be drawn from the grid. The electric meter measures the flow of electricity in and out of your home, allowing homeowners who have invested in solar to offset their energy bill every month.

Store Energy for Later Use with an Energy Storage System

An Energy Storage System (ESS) allows you to store excess electricity to be used at a later time instead of sending it to the grid. The energy stored by an ESS, such as a solar battery, can be used at any time of day, but is particularly helpful when your panels are not generating power (at night or during a power outage for example). This is an optional feature that can be added to your solar system.

For more information let us connect you with a dedicated Energy Advisor. There's never been a better time to go solar. Click here to get your free estimate today!

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