How Does Solar Energy Work For Your Home?

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Harnessing the power of the sun to generate clean and renewable energy has become an increasingly popular choice for homeowners. Solar panels, with their sleek and efficient design, have revolutionized the way we power our homes. But how do these remarkable devices actually work? In this blog post, we will delve into the fascinating world of solar energy and explore the inner workings of solar panels. From the capture of sunlight to the conversion of photons into usable electricity, we will demystify the technology behind solar panels and shed light on their benefits for your home. Whether you are considering going solar or simply curious about the science behind it, read on to discover how solar panels can harness the sun’s energy and power your home with sustainability and cost-efficiency in mind.

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Saving Money and the Environment

Are you tired of paying high electricity bills every month? Do you want to make a positive impact on the environment while saving money at the same time? If yes, then you need to consider installing solar panels in your home.

Solar panels are an excellent investment that can help you reduce your carbon footprint and save money on your energy bills. Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, solar panels offer a sustainable and cost-effective solution to your energy needs.

But how do solar panels work, and what are the benefits of using them in your home? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how solar panels work and explore the benefits of using this technology in your home. So, sit back, relax, and let’s discover how you can save money and the environment with solar panels.

save money with solar panels - AIS Solar

How do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells that convert sunlight into electricity. When the sunlight hits the PV cells, it excites the electrons in the cells and creates a flow of electricity. This electricity is then sent to an inverter, which converts the DC electricity produced by the PV cells into AC electricity that can be used to power your home.

Solar panels work best when they’re installed on a roof that faces south and has no shading from trees or other buildings. The angle of the roof should also be between 15 and 40 degrees. The more sunlight that hits the PV cells, the more electricity they produce. That’s why it’s important to keep the panels clean and free of any debris that could block the sunlight.

Solar panels are connected to the electrical grid, which means that any excess electricity produced by the panels can be sold back to the utility company. This process is known as net metering, and it’s a great way to offset the cost of your electricity bills.

Key Takeaway: If positioned properly on a home’s roof and kept in good working order, solar panels will yield the most amount of energy.

Step 1: The Sun’s Rays Travel To Earth

What Are The Suns’ Rays Made Of?

Sunlight energy that reaches earth is made of approximately 53% infrared, 43% visible light, and 4% ultraviolet.

What Type of Rays Generate Electricity?

Solar panels convert the visible light and nearly half of the infrared light into energy. However, they can only use a very small portion of the ultraviolet light produced by the sun’s rays.

Sun's rays travelling to Earth - AIS Solar Greensboro NC Solar Company

How Are The Sun’s Rays Harnessed?

Solar cells today are usually made from N-type and P-type semiconductor materials. These materials use the visible light spectrum to generate electricity via photovoltaic cells. The visible light spectrum knocks the electrons from the weak bonds in these materials and thus create electrical currents.

Step 2: Collect The Sun’s Rays With Photovoltaic Cells

newly constructed homes with solar panels on the roof under a bright sky A close up of a brand new structure with dark solar panels. AIS Solar

What Are Photovoltaic Cells?

photovoltaic cell is a form of technology that converts solar energy into electricity using the photovoltaic effect. It is comprised of several layers, the most important is the semiconductor layer.

The semiconductor layer is comprised of two distinct layers (P-type and N-type) and the semiconductor layer is what does the work of converting the visible light of the sun’s rays into useful electricity.

The semiconductor is layered with conducting material on both sides. This conducting material collects the electricity produced by the semiconductor.

The final layer is the anti-reflective layer. This is applied to the sun facing side of the solar cell. As all semiconductors are naturally reflective, energy lost from reflection can be significant. To prevent reflected energy being lost the anti-reflective coating is applied like coatings used on eyeglasses and cameras.

Types of Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are produced from one large silicon block and are produced in wafers. They are made by cutting individual wafers of silicon that can be affixed to a solar panel.

Monocrystalline cells are more efficient than poly and amorphous solar cells. Monocrystalline wafers are more labor intensive to manufacture, and as such can be more expensive.

Polycrystalline cells are also made from silicon, but they are made by fusing multiple silicon crystals together into a large block. The silicon molecules are melted then re-fused together into the panel directly

Polycrystalline cells are less efficient than monocrystalline, but more cost effective. The polycrystalline cells have a blue hue.

Step 3: Invert DC Electricity To Usable AC Electricity

What is DC energy?

Direct Current (DC) energy is the flow of electricity that is unidirectional, so the flow of charge always moves in the same direction. In DC current, the amperage and direction is consistent.

What is AC energy?

Alternating Current (AC) energy is a type of electricity in which the direction of the flow of electrons switches back and forth at regular intervals or cycles.

Why Convert to AC?

Most homes and appliances within your home use AC electricity. Because the type of energy that is generated by solar panels is DC, this energy needs to be converted to AC in order to be used within your home. This is the purpose of an electrical inverter.

Why Do Houses Use AC Electricity?

AC electricity is used in most electrical distribution systems such as the power grid for many reasons, but the most important one is the ease at which AC electricity can be transformed from one voltage to another. AC power has the advantage of low energy loss during any voltage transformations that may take place, allowing you to maximize the energy received from your home solar panel system.

Converting Solar Power To Usable Energy

How Do You Convert DC-AC

DC energy is converted to AC energy by using electronic components and capacitors to alternate the flow of electricity gradually in both directions. The alternating in flow directions of power make the DC energy into usable AC power in your home.

Where Does The Energy Go Once It Is Inverted?

Once the home solar panel system inverter has done its job and converted the DC power from your solar panels into AC power, it is ready for your home to use. In most home solar installations this energy will be made available at your breaker box for your home to pull from. If you have a battery backup system installed, some of the excess electricity generated from your solar panel system is used to charge the batteries.

String Inverter Versus Micro-inverter

Micro-inverters allow all the cells of the solar panel to gather energy individually. The advantage to micro-inverters is that if one cell or cell block is obstructed by a leaf or other lawn debris, the remaining unaffected panels can still perform at their optimum capacity.

String inverters can only perform as well as the lowest performing panel in a system. In the case of string inverters, if there is a leaf or other obstruction of a solar panel on your roof, the string inverter will only be able to perform as well as the lowest performing panel in the system. This means you could lose a lot of your potential energy generation and savings from your home solar panel system.

Key Takeaway: Make sure you understand the key solar power equipment options in your energy system. Our experienced solar pros will help you with any questions.

Step 4: Converted Electricity Gets Used

Your Home Gets Power First

Once the AC power from your inverter is ready to be used, it passes through your home’s breaker box. This allows your home and appliances the opportunity to use the solar power generated energy first. Any excess power generated is then passed to your battery backup system if you have one installed, and on to the grid via net metering for credits on your energy bill.

What Happens To The Extra Energy Your System Produces?

Battery Storage Charging

Battery backup systems will charge up using the excess electricity being generated by your home solar panel system during peak hours. This energy is stored and can be used later during low production times like at night or during overcast days. This stored power in your battery backup system can also be used in the event of a power grid outage, keeping your home powered even while your neighbors are without power.

Net Metering

Net metering is what we call the process of allowing power from your electric meter on your home to flow in both directions. This process allows you to send unused solar power energy generated to the electrical grid for a credit on your energy bill from the power company. This same process allows you to continue to pull energy from the electrical grid during periods when your home solar panel system may not be able to generate enough power for your needs, using the credits that you’ve generated first, to help keep your utility bill as low as possible.

Benefits of Solar Panels for Homeowners

There are many benefits of using solar panels in your home. First and foremost, solar panels can help you save money on your energy bills. By generating your own electricity, you’ll be less reliant on the utility company and won’t have to pay as much for your energy needs. Additionally, solar panels can increase the value of your home. A study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that homes with solar panels sold for 20% more than homes without them.

Using solar panels in your home can also help reduce your carbon footprint. By generating your own electricity from renewable sources, you’ll be reducing your reliance on fossil fuels and helping to combat climate change. Solar panels are also a low-maintenance solution to your energy needs. Once they’re installed, they require very little upkeep and can last for up to 25 years.

Solar Panel Myths and Misconceptions

There are many myths and misconceptions surrounding solar panels. One of the most common is that solar panels only work in sunny climates. While it’s true that solar panels work best in areas with a lot of sunlight, they can still generate electricity on cloudy days. Another myth is that solar panels are too expensive. While the initial cost of installing solar panels can be high, the long-term savings on your energy bills can make up for this cost.


Does my solar panel system work at night?

 Solar panels require sunlight to produce energy. Due to this requirement solar panels do not work at night. At night and during low production times for your home solar panel system, net metering and battery backups instead help to provide your home with power.

Does my solar panel system work during cloudy weather?

The photovoltaic cells in your home solar panels can use direct or indirect sunlight to generate power. During cloudy or overcast days, your panels will still work by absorbing the sunlight that is reflected off the clouds or manages to pass by the clouds completely. Though your system will still collect solar power it will not generate as much during these weather conditions.

Does my solar panel system work during rainy weather?

Your home solar panels can gather the sun’s rays even during rain. As the rain and clouds do not absorb 100% of the sun’s rays, the remaining sunlight that is reflected or passed through can still be absorbed and converted by your home solar panel system. Rain can also help improve your system performance by cleaning away any dust or dirt that may have accumulated on the panels.

Does my solar panel system work during the winter?

Solar panels do work during the winter months. During winter months your home solar panel system will still collect and convert the sun’s rays into energy for your home. Winter electricity production is lower during winter months though due to shorter days than during peak mid-summer. Your solar panels can even work during the snowy months, though the panels will not generate electricity if they are blanketed with snow. Due to the angle, ability to absorb the suns heat, and placement of the panels to have the most sun during any given day, solar panels will tend to shed any accumulated snow rather quickly.

Will your home solar panel system keep your house powered during an electrical grid outage?

The answer is yes, if you have a battery backup system installed as well. During periods when the power grid is out, your solar system will continue to generate power, but your home has nowhere to store it to be used without a battery backup system. For this reason, we highly recommend investing in a home solar panel system battery backup. The battery backup can continue collecting energy for you to use later in your home even when the grid is out, keeping your home comfortable and allowing appliances like your refrigerator to continue running, even preventing food from spoiling in the case of a long grid power outage.

Why have a battery backup for my solar panel system?

 During low production times such as at night or during extremely overcast days a battery backup system can keep your home powered without relying on the grid. Battery backup systems are a great way to maximize the savings of your home solar panel system. Most homes that have solar panel systems installed are on a net metering grid. This means that excess produced energy is sent to the grid for a credit on your energy bill. In reverse, during periods when your solar panel system is not generating enough power for your home, you can then in turn use those energy credits to buy back power from the grid. With a battery backup system, you limit how often and how much power you need to pull from the grid during these low production hours, increasing the savings generated by your excess solar credits.


Solar panels are a sustainable and cost-effective solution to your energy needs. By generating your own electricity from renewable sources, you’ll be reducing your reliance on fossil fuels and helping to combat climate change. Additionally, solar panels can help you save money on your energy bills and increase the value of your home. If you’re considering installing solar panels in your home, be sure to consult with a professional to determine if they’re right for you and to take advantage of any available incentives. Ultimately, the decision to install solar panels is a personal one, but it’s a decision that can have a positive impact on both your wallet and the environment.

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