Since becoming commercially available in the 1970s, solar panels have only grown more and more popular. Developments in technology have made them cheaper and more efficient than ever, making them increasingly available to everyday people. In 2008, solar panels were responsible for only one megawatt of energy generation in England; in 2021, they accounted for 12,001.
Over the past few decades, fossil fuel shortages and climate change have made turning to solar a crucial step towards a greener future. Solar is a clean energy source, meaning it releases no carbon emissions into the atmosphere. It harnesses the natural power of the sun to generate green, renewable energy without harming the environment.
Although you’ve probably seen solar panels out in the world, you may be wondering how they actually generate energy. In this post, we break down how solar panels work, when they work best, and why you should consider installing them onto your home.
How do solar panels generate energy?
Solar panels are made out of photovoltaic (PV) cells placed between layers of semiconducting materials like silicon. When these layers are hit by photons from sunlight, free electrons are released, creating an electric field that can be turned into electricity. This is known as the “photovoltaic effect”.
When a solar panel generates a direct current of electricity, it is passed through an inverter that converts it into an alternating current. This current can be sent to the National Grid or used by the building the solar panel is fixed to. It can also be stored in a solar storage battery for later use.
When do solar panels generate energy?
It won’t be surprising to hear that solar panels work best on clear, sunny days around noon, when the sun is highest in the sky.
That doesn’t mean they won’t work on cloudy or even rainy days, however. Sunlight is still shining through, even if it is less intense than it would be on a clear day. In fact, rain can actually make solar panels work somewhat better in the long run, as the water will wash away any dirt or dust blocking the sunlight from reaching the panels.
What are the benefits of installing solar panels?
Thanks to lowered costs and increased efficiency, modern solar panels are a fantastic long-term investment. Installing them onto your property comes with a wide range of benefits, such as:
- Reduced reliance on the National Grid, saving you hundreds on your energy bills
- Lowered carbon emissions
- Significant value added to your home when it comes time to sell
- Multiple applications – you can use the energy you generate for both electricity and heating
Expert Solar Panel Installation from Solar Service
With energy bills the highest they’ve been in decades, there’s never been a better time to make the switch to solar.
Solar Service are the South’s top green energy specialists. We will design a cost-effective, efficient solar panel system for your property, handling each step of the installation with skill and care. With years of experience installing, repairing, and maintaining solar PVs, you can trust us to carry out your installation to the highest standard of quality.