Solar panels are also referred to as solar photovoltaic (PV) panel systems. They work by harvesting energy from the sun and use it to generate electricity. Many people think that you need lots of sunshine for solar panels to work. This isn’t true. Solar panels will generate electricity for your home even on cloudy days. Solar panels simply need daylight to work and generate electricity.
A solar panel is made up of several solar cells. These small solar cells convert daylight into energy and when scaled as a solar panel, create a usable amount of electricity. It is common to find solar panels connected together on a roof and this is called a solar array.
Solar cells work like a miniature circuit. Cells are made up of silicon layers that allow electrons to flow from the top layer to the bottom. These electrons flow because they are stimulated to do so by daylight hitting the initial layer of the solar cell. There’s a metal contact encompassing the top silicon layer and the bottom silicon layer of a solar cell that turns it into a circuit. Each of these solar PV cells creates a direct current, known as DC electricity. However domestic electricity uses alternating current – or AC electricity. In order to be able to use this solar electricity, it has to pass through an inverter. The inverter turns the generated electricity into usable electricity that run your home appliances, however it does not store unused electricity.
Due to the fact that an inverter doesn’t store electricity, it is best to use the most energy sapping appliances – such as tumble dryers, washing machines and dishwashers during the daytime. But even if you don’t and you end up using more power than your solar panels produce, you’ll be seamlessly switched back to electricity from the National Grid without any interruption. The only thing you will notice is a drastic reduction in your electricity bills.