A house with solar panels covering the roof

Solar Energy 101: Harnessing the Power of the Sun

How Does Solar Energy Work?

The sun is considered to be the best source of energy because everyone can benefit from its resources. From giving us our daily dose of vitamin D to providing us with power, solar energy is a wondrous thing. But what is solar energy? How does solar energy work? How much do solar panels cost? What is a solar panel system? These are all questions that must be answered before you can properly benefit from it.

The way solar energy works is quite simple. The solar panels absorb sunlight through the use of the PV cells and generate direct current energy. This energy is then converted to an alternating current (AC) by the inverter. The alternating current energy is sent throughout the electrical panel and is distributed throughout the house.

Read on to find out more about these questions, and how exactly solar energy works.

What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is light and heat produced by the sun, which is then converted into electricity using a wide array of technologies. The technology that’s used includes solar architecture, artificial photosynthesis, photovoltaics, power plants, and solar thermal technology.

There is a lot more to solar panels than meets the eye. A solar panel system is actually a complex system that requires very specific resources in order to properly function. These resources include: solar cells, a charge controller, a battery, an inverter, and grid-tied systems.

Energy Production

Sooner or later, you will ask yourself “how much energy can solar panels produce?” Many people question this when they begin to learn more about solar energy. To start, every single solar panel contains photovoltaic (PV) cells. These cells take the light, or photons, and turn it into electricity.

Once the sunlight makes contact with the solar panel, the PV cells create direct current (DC) electricity. Keep in mind that solar panels aren’t able to run everything on their own. Not to mention, the amount of energy produced by it varies on the type of solar panel.

How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?

Before purchasing a solar panel, it’s important to keep in mind that the cost varies from state to state. Research has shown that the average cost for solar panels per watt is $2.67 to $3.43. Furthermore, the cost for an average sized solar panel is $11,214 to $14,606 after taxes.

How to Sell Your Electricity From Solar Panels Back Into the Grid

Some people are unaware of this, but you can actually make money off of the electricity produced from your solar panels. That’s right, instead of sending the electric company a check every month, it’s the other way around! Here’s how to sell your electricity from solar panels back into the grid:

  • Check in with your state and power company
  • Review the tax benefits
  • Install and sell your electricity

Keep in mind that in order to make money from your electricity, you’ll have to generate more power than usual. So, before you rush out and install your solar panels, go over your monthly electricity bill and figure out your average costs. Doing research beforehand will help you in the long run.