How does solar power work?

Tailor Made Solar Power
May 8, 2015

As the electricity flows into your solar power electrical system, it is either used in your building or “sold” back to your electric utility service for later use. Your electric meter literally runs backwards when you are producing net energy and forward when you use it.

Your solar system produces more energy in the summer, when energy rates are highest, and you can bank excess energy credits to use when you need them within a one-year cycle. You only pay for your yearly net power usage.

Converting sunlight to electrical power

Solar power cells convert sunlight into electricity, using the energy of speeding photons to create an electrical current within a solar panel.

Photons are created in the center of the sun by the fusion of atoms. It takes a photon about a million years to work its way to the surface of the sun, but once free it is hurled through space so fast that it reaches earth in just eight minutes – after traveling 93 million miles.

This tremendous energy from the sun is abundant, and has been powering the earth for billions of years – feeding plants, redistributing and refreshing water supplies and ultimately creating other forms of energy (such as fossil fuels) that largely power our civilization today.

Over the past several decades, scientists have been learning to harness this ancient energy source with more efficiency to do the work of non-renewable fuels – without pollution, noise or radiation, and not subject to economic whims that drive costs higher each year.

An interesting side note: Photons are also called quanta. They are literally “packets” of sunlight” . Albert Einstein got his Nobel Prize for his study of quantum mechanics.