How Does Solar Power Work?

October 16, 2021

Research conducted by Stanford University found that there are 1.47 million solar panels in use in the contiguous 48 states. It’s safe to say that solar power is a big deal! In fact, it accounts for 1.6 percent of all electricity generation in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). But even though solar installation is becoming increasingly popular, many of us still don’t understand how solar panels and solar power work.

If you’re in the dark, keep reading. This post will teach you everything you need to know about harnessing sunlight to power your home or business.

Solar 101

Solar radiation, also known as electromagnetic radiation, is light emitted by the sun. Solar technology captures that radiation while the sun is shining and turns it into useful energy for homes and businesses. The two main types of solar energy technology are photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP).

Photovoltaics

PV is utilized in solar panels, which is what we specialize in at Aneva Solar. When the sun hits a solar panel, energy is absorbed by the panel’s PV cells. The energy creates an electrical charge that moves through a semiconductor in the panel before it’s converted into useful energy, which we’ll cover below.

Concentrating solar-thermal power

While PV is typically reserved for homes and businesses, power plants use CSP to collect solar energy and convert it to heat. This is accomplished by using mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers. CSPs can either use the energy right away or store it for later use.

Systems integration

Solar power doesn’t do much good if it just sits in the cell or at the CSP station. To be useful, it must be converted from direct current (DC) to an alternating current (AC). This process is performed by devices called inverters. Once the energy is converted to AC, it’s able to be dispersed throughout the electrical grid or for use directly in your home or business.

Are you ready to go solar?

Now that you know a little bit more about how solar energy works, it’s time to install panels at your home or business. These are a few reasons to consider it:

  • Immediate savings: You’ll have a lower energy bill from day one. The amount you can save on your energy bill is correlated to how much sunlight your home receives. In Arizona, for example, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll receive plenty of sunshine to power most of your electric devices —and maybe even offset your entire electric bill.
  • Tax breaks: The government offers tax credits and rebates for those who choose to install solar panels. Depending on your situation, you may be eligible to get back 30 percent of the cost of solar equipment and installation come tax time.
  • Higher resale value: Solar panel installation also pays off in the long run because it raises the value of your home. A home’s resale value increases by nearly $6,000 per kilowatt installed.

Don’t just stand by and miss harnessing the sun’s free power. Contact Aneva Solar today to get a free evaluation to see if your home or business is a good fit for solar panels.

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