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Why We Are Thankful For Solar-Powered Systems

Jessica PirroNovember 27, 20192340

When it comes to solar power there are a lot of reasons to be thankful. There’s the environmental benefits of solar energy, the cost of solar panel installations continuing to fall, and much more. 

But one thing that we are especially thankful for, is the whole solar-powered system in general. To help you understand why we are thankful for solar-powered systems as a whole, we will explain how the solar-powered system in general works.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

When it comes to how solar panels work, it is extremely important to understand how photovoltaic cells work. The most important components of the photovoltaic cells are the two layers of semiconductor material that are commonly composed of silicon crystals. The newly crystallized silicon, on its own, isn’t going to be a very good conductor of solar energy. But when the impurities are intentionally added (which is called doping), it then sets the stage for creating the electric current.

The bottom layer of the photovoltaic cells is then usually doped with boron. This will then bond the silicon to facilitate a positive charge (P), while the top layer is then doped with phosphorus, which will then bond with the silicon to facilitate a negative charge (N).

When the sunlight enters the photovoltaic cells, the solar energy that is coming from the sunlight knocks the electrons loose in both layers. Because the charges of the layers are opposite, the electrons are going to want to flow from the n-type to the p-type layer. However, the electric field at the P-N junction is going to prevent this from happening.

The external circuit provides the necessary path for the n-type to travel to the p-type layer electrons.

Most solar-powered systems are based on individual square photovoltaic cells, a few inches on each side. Alone, each of the photovoltaic cells will generate a small amount of solar power, therefore they are grouped on the solar panels. The solar panels will then either be used individually or be grouped into a large solar panel installation.

Solar Power Inverters

The next aspect of a solar panel installation that we are going to dive into, is how solar power inverters work.

Most people know what solar panels are because that’s the most visible part of the solar panel installation. A solar power inverter, however, is just as important as the solar panels, when it comes to utility and residential solar-powered systems. The basic function of the solar power inverter is to change the direct current of the solar panels into alternating current. The various electrical and electronic components are connected in the circuit to help in the conversion process.

When the sun hits the solar panels, electrons within the photovoltaic cells will begin to move around, which will produce the direct current (DC) solar power. The circuits within the photovoltaic cells will then collect the solar energy for you to use in your home.

This is where your solar power inverter comes into play. Most homes are going to use alternating current (AC), not the DC, which is the solar energy produced from the panels, deeming that solar energy without the solar power inverter, un-useful. When the solar panels collect the sunlight and convert it into usable solar power. The solar energy will then be sent to the solar power inverter, which takes DC solar energy and converts it into AC solar energy. Once it is converted, solar power can be used to power appliances and electronics and if your solar panel installation produces excess solar energy it can then be sent to the grid.

Back-Up Solar Power

As the popularity of the residential energy storage system industry rises, more and more new opportunities for independent solar power production and storage are more accessible than ever. A homeowner is going to have two different ways to store solar power, solar energy batteries, and solar power grid storage.

Solar Energy Batteries

Solar energy batteries are going to work by storing the solar power that is produced by the solar panels and storing it for later use. In certain cases, solar energy batteries will have their solar power inverter and offer an integrated solar energy conversion. The higher the solar energy battery capacity, the more solar energy it can store.

When you get a solar panel installation with a solar power battery as part of your solar panel installation, you can store the excess solar energy at your home instead of sending it back to the grid. If your solar panels are producing more solar energy then you need, the excess solar power goes towards charging the solar power battery. When your solar panel installation isn’t producing solar energy, you will then be able to draw the stored solar energy that has previously been stored in the solar power battery for night use. You will only send the solar energy back to the grid when the solar power battery is fully charged, and you will only draw solar energy from the grid when your solar power battery is out of a charge.

Solar Power Grid Storage

Solar power batteries, along with other solar energy storage technologies, may not be too common, but it isn’t expected to be the case for much longer. It is expected that it is going to become a $2.5 billion market in the United States by 2020.

The reason that solar power is expected to grow is because of the same benefit that solar power batteries offer to homeowners, mainly the ability to store solar power for later use, can also be applied at a larger scale of the entire electricity grid. Solar energy storage technologies, like solar power batteries, are going to provides electric utilities and energy users more flexibility in the way that they generate and use energy, in particular, solar energy.

The electric utilities and grid managers have a complex task. They need to provide their customers with consistent and reliable access to the electricity that powers their homes and businesses. To achieve that, they are going to need to ensure that there’s enough solar energy being produced by the solar-powered system at a given moment, the customers are going to be more likely to experience blackouts. The more solar-powered system storage technologies, like solar power batteries, electric utilities, and grid, the operators can easily manage the flow of solar energy. Meaning, in the long run, solar energy will be more integrated into our nation’s electricity mix, which will include the residential solar panel installation.

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