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How Solar Works – Solar Panels and Power | Solar Energy USA Blog Archive

How Solar Works – Solar Panels and Power

Posted on Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 at 6:13 pm by Solar Energy USA

How does solar power work? The short answer is: magic!

Here’s a quick illustration of what it takes to turn sunlight into electricity using solar panels:


Every day, sunlight hits your roof in the form of photons (particles of sunlight). Solar cells within solar panels capture these highly desirable photons.

The panel then converts those photons into electrons of direct current (DC) electricity. Not surprisingly, the sunnier it is, the more energy is produced by the solar panels.

Electrons flow out of the panel and into an inverter and other electrical safety devices. In most residential applications we use a smaller type of inverter called a microinverter. Every solar panel that is installed will have its own microinverter connected to the back of the panel.


Microinverters convert DC power into alternating current (AC) power which is what your home runs on. The electricity used by televisions, computers, and all other electrical appliances and equipment within your home is needed in AC form. One cool feature of using a microinverter is the ability to monitor in realtime every watt of energy that is produced (see the picture below).


Click here to watch a video about monitoring the power production of a solar panel system.

A bi-directional meter keeps track of the all the power your solar system sends back into the utility lines (“the grid”). Solar energy that is not used immediately within the home will go back into the grid through this meter. Most people build up power bill credits thanks to all of the energy a rooftop solar panel system produces during the weekday (assuming you don’t work from home or keep your electrical appliances on when the house is vacant). At night the solar system is not producing energy, so power is pulled from utility lines to provide power to the home.


High electric bill? More questions about how solar works? Contact us – we would love to answer all of your questions and show you how much you can save with solar!