It is a known fact that the sun is an efficient source of clean energy. A lot of homes and industries have been dependent on it as a source of ample electricity to power up lights, water heaters, boilers and other appliances and machineries. What makes it possible for us to use the sun for electricity?
The key in using the energy for the sun are the solar cells. These cells are formed to make the solar panels for electricity. How do the panels work?
To make things clearer, here is the step-by step process on how the sun’s rays can be used to generate enough electricity for our daily needs:
• Rays from the sun are collected by the solar panels for electricity. The direct sunlight is utilized by the panels through photovoltaic process. The panels have a semi-conducting material such as silicon which makes it possible for the potential energy to be gathered and stored.
• Once the sun’s rays touch the atoms in the silicon, the atoms become loose. When these atoms move freely and become active, electricity is then produced. This is the stage when the light (which is considered the photo) is converted to electricity (which is measured in voltage). This is the photovoltaic effect.
• Because of the PV effect, solar panels for electricity are capable of producing direct current or DC out of solar energy. The more panels there are, the higher amount of direct current is produced.
• The direct current (DC) has to go through the inverter. Since home appliances are typically powered by alternating current, the direct current is converted by the inverter. It becomes a 120-volt electricity.
• Through the wiring system, the electricity can reach the sockets so that it can be used within the household. Since the inverter has processed the electricity, the power from sockets is already AC.
• If the power generated by solar panels for electricity is more than what the entire household can consume, the surplus goes to a battery. This battery stores it as direct current electricity. Because of this, there will be available electric current even at night when the sun is no longer shining. It can even provide power during stormy or cloudy days.
Net Metering Through Solar Panels for Electricity
There is a type of solar power set-up wherein the system is interconnected with the main grid. If this is the case, net metering can happen.
When the solar panels for electricity produce more than what the household needs and more than what the battery can store, net metering can be enjoyed. What happens is that the surplus electricity is exported to the utility grid.
This amount of energy can still be utilized if there is no sufficient sunlight. As the surplus power from solar panels for electricity goes back to the main power grid, the utility meter rotates backwards too. When time comes and the surplus electricity has to be consumed, the utility meter runs normally. This ensures that the electricity that will be charged on the electric bill is exactly equivalent to the amount of electricity that was actually supplied by the power company.