How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels work by harvesting the sun’s energy and converting it into electricity. Read more to learn how your solar energy system connects to your home and integrates with your existing electricity infrastructure.

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How Solar Panels Work

Solar panels work by letting photons from the sun’s rays knock electrons free from atoms inside of photovoltaic cells (pv cells) to generate a flow of electricity. Each panel is composed of many solar cells linked together (typically 60 or 72). Each cell contains a positive and negative layer that combine to form an electrical field in which energy is created.

Phosphorus inside the top silicon layer creates the negative charge, while boron in the bottom layer provides the positive charge. The two fields interact with one another to turn the sun’s rays into the energy that flows from your panels to your inverter.


How Does Solar Energy Work?

A Step-By-Step Guide:


Step 1: Sunlight Activates Panels and Cells Produce Electrical Current
Sunlight hits the layers of your solar panels, and photons and electrons interact to create an electrical current.

Step 2: The Electrical Energy is Converted
The electrical current flows from the panels down to your solar inverter, which converts the energy generated from your panels (DC) into usable energy for your home (AC).

Step 3: The Converted Electricity Powers Your Home
The AC energy flows from the inverter into your breaker box, which will then circulate it throughout your home.

Step 4: Unused Energy is Stored or Potentially Returned for an Energy Bill Credit
Any unused AC will flow back to your utility meter and remain available for consumption. In certain states, homeowners have the ability to return that unused AC back to the electric grid in the form of energy credits on their next power bill. This process is known as net metering in electricity generation.


How Does Net Metering Work?

Net metering works to send any extra energy that your solar panel system produces back to the power grid, and you are credited for that energy at a 1 to 1 ratio (you get to sell it at the same price you buy it). Those credits can be used on future electric bills. Note that some utility companies do not offer net metering. Overall, this is a great incentive for solar energy use.

What Happens to Excess Energy?

To manage the excess energy, you can either store excess energy in a solar battery or use net metering to sell the energy back to the utility companies. During peak sunlight hours, your solar energy system can potentially produce more renewable energy than you need. Storing the remaining energy in a solar battery can help you have access to power during outages or allow you to power portions of your home during the night.


Frequently Asked Questions

The number of solar panels you need will depend on many different factors. These include your roof’s sun exposure, your current energy consumption, your goal electric bill and your home appliances. Ultimately, the exact amount of solar panels your home may need to see potential savings is unique to you. Our team will walk through each of these factors and determine the ideal number of panels needed to meet your energy goals.

Solar panel costs typically depend on the style and number of panels you select, current electricity costs in your area, and whether or not you qualify for any local rebates and incentives. Installation costs also factor in. However, depending on your panel efficiency, your region’s sunlight exposure, your home’s current energy usage, etc, you could potentially offset the cost of your system over the lifespan of your investment. Our system engineers will take all of these details into consideration to design a solar system that’s totally custom for your home.

Your potential savings depend on a variety of factors, including where you live and how much energy your home currently consumes. Local utility rates, solar incentives, net metering policies and more can also impact your savings potential.

To make your solar journey as seamless as possible, Skyline Smart Energy offers $0 down, 100% financing on solar systems for qualified homeowners. Learn more about going solar for less.

Homeowners installing solar panels before the end of 2023 can potentially deduct up to 30% of the cost of their solar installation from their federal taxes. Learn how to take advantage of this solar tax incentive before its expiration.

While some locations may receive more direct sunlight than others, our high-performance solar panels need only be clear of debris to produce electricity for your home, regardless of where you live.

While performance issues and early wear and tear of your panels are highly unlikely, you can protect your solar investment and keep your system producing for many years to come with our generous warranty options.

Net metering gives you a way to store energy and use it when you need it. During peak sunlight hours, the average solar panel system produces more power than you and your family can use. The extra energy is fed back into the grid, and the utility can use it for someone else. You get credit for the energy you feed back into the grid. When needed, you can use that credit to get power from the grid during the night, or on cloudy days when your home needs more energy than your panels are generating. Net metering improves the economics of solar power significantly, and it’s why Skyline Smart Energy works with power companies that provide it.

For those utility companies that don’t offer net metering, installing a battery is a way to utilize more of the energy your solar panels generate to your benefit.

How quickly you can pay off your solar panel system depends on several factors including federal and state tax incentives you may be eligible for, whether you choose to pay off extra each month, and the size of your particular solar project.

The short answer is, yes, solar panels are worth the cost. Solar panels could potentially lower your electric bills, you take steps towards owning your power (not renting it), you can offset future utility bills with net metering, and home solar panels could potentially raise the value of your property.

The Most Efficient Era of Solar Panels Yet

Solar panels become more sophisticated every year. In fact, modern technology has ushered in the most efficient era of solar panels the world has ever seen. These new panels convert at an astonishing rate of 21-22%, which not only allows them to generate more energy for your home – it also helps you potentially save more money!

More efficiency and lower production costs paint a bright future for solar energy. According to a 2019 report conducted by the International Energy Agency, solar power could potentially make up 60% of new renewable-based power capacity across the globe within the next five years.

Simply put, solar is here to stay because it works. Request a free quote today to see how it can work for you.

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