How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar power is generated from the sun – from solar energy. If you’re looking at installing solar panels on your roof, you might be wondering how solar power actually works. You can harness the sun’s energy in two ways: light and heat.

This blog explains how the sun’s light is converted into electricity for your home or business.

Converting sunlight into energy.

Solar panels use the photovoltaic (PV) effect to generate electricity from sunlight.

When sunlight hits the PV cells in your solar panels, electrons are knocked loose and start to move around in a closed circuit. This is electricity, in its basic form, which is primarily Direct Current (DC) electricity. This low voltage DC electricity is then converted into high voltage Alternating Current (AC) electricity by an inverter (or inverters) connected to your solar PV panels. This AC electricity can then be used in your home immediately during the day or stored in a solar battery for use at night.

What is the perfect condition for my solar panel?

A common misconception is that solar PV panels use the sun’s heat to generate electricity. Conversely, too much heat can reduce your solar panels’ efficiency. The perfect condition for solar panels is a mild, sunny day of about 25 degrees Celsius.

The number of solar panels you have, or the size of your solar power system, will also dictate how much electricity you can generate for your home. Solar systems are sized in kilowatts, and each kilowatt of your system will generate between 3 and 5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per day. Generally, about 3 or 4 solar PV panels make up 1 kilowatt.

Read our blog, How many solar panels do I need to learn more about how you can ensure your system is sized for maximum benefit.

What are the benefits of solar power?

There are numerous advantages of using solar power for your electricity needs.

Solar energy benefits not only the planet’s health but can also help you reduce your energy costs in the long term.

  • It’s renewable
    Solar power is a renewable energy source. That means it’s doubtful it to ever run out and is a much more sustainable long-term solution for electricity generation. Sunshine is incredibly abundant in Australia – we have some of the longest sunshine hours in the world!
  • It’s green
    Using renewable solar energy to power your home or business means you’re using clean, green energy with minimal or zero greenhouse emissions. Read more about the benefits of solar power on the environment in our blog.
  • It’s a great way to reduce your energy costs
    When you generate your own electricity using solar panels and use it during the day, you’ll notice a drop in your power bills almost immediately – you’ll reduce your electricity consumption from the grid. Any electricity that you don’t use is sent back to the grid, often for a small payment called a solar feed-in tariff.
  • You could have power in a blackout
    If you also install a solar battery, you can store solar power that you might not otherwise use immediately. This battery can be charged with energy generated by your solar panels, ready to power your home at night. With a solar battery, you could also have the potential to have power in a blackout.