Most people have seen solar panels, and many even have them installed on their roofs. It is often difficult to grasp how solar panels work and how they convert solar energy to usable electricity.
California Energy Commission, reported that around 770 operating solar power panels throughout California.
The process is complex as many different components are involved in setting up solar energy systems at home. Installing solar panels in your El Cajon home is not simple.
It requires multiple components like inverters, and batteries. In El Cajon, battery storage helps store power which can be used during night or rainy seasons.
Converting solar energy into electricity does not impact the environment nor emits harmful substances into the atmosphere. Moreover, it is a renewable energy source since there is abundant sunlight, unlike the limited resources on earth used to make electricity.
In addition, solar energy is much cheaper than any other form of producing electricity. Many people can even earn money by sending their additional electricity back to the primary power grid called feed-in electricity.
The government offers various incentives and rebates for homeowners to motivate more people to install solar panels depending on where they reside.
Here is a step-by-step process of converting solar energy into electricity.
Step1 – the Sun Provides Abundant Energy
Firstly, one should know how traditional electricity is produced. Electricity generation involves the use of several fossil fuels. Many of these fuels are extremely harmful to the environment because of how they are extracted and used.
Nonrenewable energy sources are labor-intensive and risky operations that affect the environment.
Even after extraction, various fuels, such as coal, biogas, and nuclear energy, affect the environment since many undergo combustion, releasing air pollutants into the atmosphere.
Solar energy only uses abundant sunlight to produce electricity. There is no labor-intensive work involved, no mining of resources, no pipelines, and no nuclear energy.
Only sunlight is required to produce such energy that is cleaner and cheaper than any other method of generating electricity.
Fortunately, the sun is an infinite source of energy; this is why solar energy is deemed renewable energy.
If you are familiar with solar energy, you must be familiar with terms like photovoltaic or PV that describe how solar panels convert sunlight into usable electricity.
When the solar panels absorb the sunlight, the energy is then absorbed by the PV cells. This solar energy creates an electrical charge that moves inside the panels stimulated by an internal electric field in the cell, which causes the electricity to flow.
Step 2 – the Solar Panel Absorbs Sunlight.
In simple terms, solar panels are rectangular-shaped plate-like structures made from a semiconductor material called silicon cells.
These cells contain electrons, and multiple cells are present in one single panel. Substances like phosphorus and boron are often applied to silicon cells to create a magnetic field. In the magnetic field, some cells may have a negative or positive charge.
The panels that absorb the sunlight are located on the rooftop with or on a ground-mounted structure without any shade that might hinder the sunlight.
When multiple solar panels are connected, it is called a solar array. Also, one can connect different brands of solar panels to expand their array.
The sunlight destabilizes electrons as it hits these panels, which causes them to move from one side of the panel. When these cells move, electricity flows through them.
Metal conductors on the cells collect the directed flow of power and transmit it to the inverter, ultimately sending it to the battery storage or the grid.
Step 3 – Conversion of Solar Energy to Electricity by Inverters
At this point, solar energy has not been converted into electricity that you can use in homes in the USA.
Since the solar panels initially create an electric charge incompatible with the country’s electric system, it becomes essential to invest in an inverter.
The electricity is generated in the DC (direct current) format, wherein the current flows only in one direction. At the same time, only the AC form of current is used in homes across the country.
The AC format is used throughout because it is highly efficient and can travel long distances from the grids to homes.
Unless you invest in a proper inverter for your solar energy systems, the power generated is useless. It is crucial to use an inverter that will convert DC to AC to utilize the electricity in your home.
Moreover, you can send the extra power back to the grid and earn money per your local area’s feed-in tariffs.
High-quality inverters also can separate your home’s electricity from the grid and use only the energy generated by solar panels.
The inverters are often paired with battery storage that stores the electricity produced from the panels and uses this energy in emergencies or blackouts.
Innovative inverters can automatically undertake energy management and switch between the grid’s electricity and solar electricity as per the need.
There are three types of inverters; string inverters, microinverters, and power optimizers. Choosing the type of inverter depends on your energy needs, roof space, and your installation budget.
How to Determine the Efficiency of Solar Panels?
When installing solar panels at your home, you should know that all types of solar panels do not function at equal efficiency. The variance in the quality of materials and location causes the difference in the installation and maintenance costs.
The efficiency of solar panels is determined by the amount of electricity generated with respect to the light falling on the panels. A panel that will convert less light into more electricity can be deemed as an efficient panel.
The more efficient your solar panels are, the fewer panels you will need to use in your solar array. Investing in high-quality solar panels is important if you have restricted roof space for installation.
Evaluating the sun number score is the best way to determine the potential output of your energy system based on your specific location and quantity of panels.
Homeowners in the golden state of California are entitled to various rebate programs when they install solar energy systems. These rebate programs can pay the owners up to $0.95 per watt of installed capacity.
A solar energy system of 4Kw will cost you $11,000, but in San Diego county, after all the rebates and tax credit, the same setup will cost you only $8000.
So, it is much cheaper to install solar panels in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, or El Cajon with battery storage and other essential components
Installing a solar energy system is surely a cheaper and cleaner way to generate electricity for daily use. Consider seeking the advice of a professional to determine the best kinds of panels, inverters, and batteries for your home.