How Do Solar Panels Create Electricity from Sunlight?

When you install solar panels at your Utah home, you’ll have a reliable supply of free electricity for your home. You’ll also have much lower energy costs -- or, you may even eliminate your monthly bill altogether.

But where does the electricity come from? Sunlight contains energy, but how do photovoltaic systems take that and create power for your home appliances and electronic devices? Leave it to the solar energy installation experts at PRVL Energy to demystify the process.

Solar panels in Utah

Solar Panels Harness Sunlight

Solar panels have dozens of photovoltaic cells, typically made of one or two layers of silicon-based semi-conductor wafers. When sunlight hits the wafers, the cells generate an electrical charge.

Essentially, when the sun shines, the electrons in the silicon begin to move from one side to another. This phenomenon, called the photovoltaic effect, creates direct current (DC) electricity.

Inverters Convert Solar Power into Electricity

DC electricity cannot power your home, however, as appliances and electronics run on alternating current (AC) electricity. To solve this problem, photovoltaic systems are equipped with inverters.

An inverter converts the power the photovoltaic cells create into useable electricity, transforming the current from DC to AC. Some systems have string inverters, which convert the electricity from all of the solar panels, while others have a separate micro-inverter for each panel.

Solar Power Meets Your Electricity Needs

After the inverter does its job, electricity flows through your home and provides you with the power you need.

You won’t notice a difference in how your appliances and devices function, as electricity from solar power works like electricity from the utility grid. And depending upon the size of your system, you’ll likely have enough power to meet most or all of your energy needs.

Excess Solar Power Goes to the Utility Grid

A photovoltaic system can produce more power than you use in your home, but the excess electricity doesn’t go to waste – it goes to the utility grid. And thanks to net energy metering (NEM), you get compensation.

Also known as net metering, NEM is an arrangement in which the local utility company credits you for any surplus solar power your system produces. You can then draw on those credits when you need them, pulling electricity from the grid at night and on cloudy days.

Are you thinking about switching your Utah home over to solar power? If you have questions or would like more information about installing solar panels, turn to the experienced professional contractors at PRVL Energy.

As one of the few SunPower Elite Dealers in Utah, PRVL has advanced training in solar power installation. We can explain your options, offer expert advice and design a highly efficient, cost-effective solar panel system that meets your home electricity needs. For a free consultation, contact us today.

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