It’s not exactly rocket science, yet the mechanics of solar energy powering one’s home still baffles the mind. There are also many reported benefits of solar power, but few people truly understand how it works. So here, we answer some frequently asked questions about solar energy that you might have.
How do solar panels work?
It does seem like an engineering marvel. To the naked eye, they look like regular glass panels. In reality, these solar panels are made of photovoltaic cells that absorb the sun’s rays during the daytime. The energy is then converted into a direct current (DC). However, most homes and residences are powered by an alternating current (AC). Thus, the solar panels are connected to an inverter that would convert DC into AC. You could either use this electricity in your home or send it back into the electric grid.
Will the solar panels work when the sun isn’t out?
This is perhaps one of the most common questions people ask when inquiring about solar energy. The most straightforward answer is no; it naturally doesn’t work when the sun isn’t out since it’s this type of energy that the photovoltaic cells absorb. And typically, they don’t work at night. However, the more complicated answer is that even though it might not seem like there’s any sunlight when the weather is cloudy, there could still be enough to be absorbed and stored for future use.
Alternatively, you could look into installing “reverse solar panels.” These are still a new discovery, but it’s a specially designed photovoltaic cell that uses infrared light.
Another question related to this that some residents in the US ask is how snowfall affects the solar panels. Rainwater can glide off, but will snow damage the solar panel? Generally, snowfall is not that heavy to cause any damage, according to experts. Solar panels are also installed at an angle so that the snow could slide off, just like rain.
Will I still have to pay an electricity bill?
Yes, you would still have to. However, many studies have shown that utilizing solar energy can dramatically decrease your energy bill. There are many factors you’d have to consider when the reduction on your energy bill comes to light, including how powerful your solar energy is and how much you need to power your home. If you want to cut your electricity bill down to zero, consider living off-grid. Many young families have done so and have not only cut down on electricity costs, but they have also enriched their lives.
Do solar panels require regular maintenance?
Most systems are made of tempered glass built for durability, thus, requiring little to no maintenance. Some of these are built to last up to 35 years, so though it seems like your initial out-of-pocket expense is steep, it will save you money in the long run. You could also look at financing options for your solar panel installation.
Before you do get those solar panels professionally installed, check that your installer has warranties. These warranties are beneficial to you in case you do sustain some damage to your solar panels.
Meta title: Do You Know How Solar Energy Works?
Meta description: We’ve all heard of the benefits, financial and environmental, of using solar energy to power your home. But do you really understand how it works?