How does Solar Energy work?

Installers fitting solar panels to a roof

You may be thinking about installing solar panels and your main question is… how does solar energy work?

Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on earth. Fun fact! According to The Department of Energy, Office of Science, the amount of solar energy striking the Earth’s surface in one hour is about 170 petawatt hours of energy! This is enough energy to support the world’s energy consumption for a whole year!

When sunlight reaches earth, this is in the form of energy, heat and light. This is also known as Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR). Solar radiation can be caught and then turned into useful forms of energy, for example heat and electricity, using various technologies such as Solar Photovoltaic Panels or Solar PV Panels, but more simply known just as Solar Panels.

Home solar
Typical roof-mounted Solar Panels such as these are becoming more commonplace in the UK now.

How do Solar Panels work?

Solar panels come in different shapes, sizes and brands. When the sun shines onto a solar panel, energy from the sunlight is absorbed by the photovoltaic (PV) cells in the panel and these convert the sun’s energy into electricity.

Solar panels generate a direct current of electricity which is passed through an inverter to convert it into an alternating current. This can be used by the home or business that the panels are installed on.

An Inverter? What is an Inverter?

An inverter is an important component in a Solar Panel system. The job of an inverter is to change the current from DC (Direct Current) to AC (Alternating Current). The electrical current produced from the Solar Panels is in Direct Current (DC). In order for this to be safe and compliant electricity that will power your household appliances, it needs to be converted to Alternating Current (AC).

What can Solar Energy be used for?

Solar energy can be used for multiple things around your home. Whether it be charging your car, drying your washing or boiling the kettle, solar energy can be harnessed used for many applications.

Solar energy is a great environmentally friendly option for your home or business.

Why is Solar Energy important for the future?

Solar energy is a renewable energy source, meaning it can meet your needs without harm to the environment or indeed future generations. Solar energy systems do not produce air pollutants or carbon dioxide, and systems installed on buildings have minimal effect on the environment. Solar power is both clean and quiet, making it an ideal solution for a better future.