How do rooftop solar panels work?
- 27 Sep 2023
- 4 min
What is a home solar system and how will it make your life better? For starters, it can lower your bill and grant you power outage immunity. How is that possible? Read our article on how rooftop solar panels work.
Functions and components of a rooftop solar panel system
What does a rooftop solar system do for you? It generates energy during daytime that you can use instead of electricity from the grid. You can even sell excess solar energy to the utility to lower your bill. With energy storage, your house retains power even during power outages. The essential parts of a solar system are:
• Solar panels. Solar panels are composed of numerous photovoltaic cells, typically made from crystalline silicon. These cells convert sunlight into electricity through the photovoltaic effect. When sunlight strikes the cells, it excites electrons within the material, generating a flow of direct current (DC) electricity. Read more in our article on how rooftop solar panels work.
• Inverter. An inverter converts DC into alternating current (AC), which is the type of electricity used by our home. An inverter also maximizes the output of a solar system, monitors the production and interacts with the grid.
Solar energy storage and how it works
If you want to store your solar energy for later, add batteries. You can use excess electricity generated during the day at night or during power outages, further reducing your dependence on the grid and enhancing your energy self-sufficiency.
Batteries are an essential part of the solar system only when your house is not connected to the grid. Note that you can’t just add batteries to a simple grid-tie system — for this you would need a hybrid inverter.
Net metering and how it works
With a grid-tie solar system, the grid becomes your battery.This means that you can pull energy from the grid when panels don’t produce enough or pump extras into it. It’s called net metering.
When your solar panels produce more electricity than you consume, the excess electricity is sent back to the grid. This is made possible by a two-way meter, which measures both the electricity you consume and the electricity you feed into the grid. The excess electricity you send to the grid is converted into energy credits. These credits are subtracted from your utility bill, reducing your energy expenses.
Maximizing the efficiency of your rooftop solar panel system
While net metering helps increase the financial benefits of your rooftop solar panel system, maximizing its efficiency ensures you get the most energy from the sun. Here are some ways to enhance the performance of your solar panels:
• Regular maintenance. Cleaning is essential to keep your solar panels working efficiently. Dust, dirt, leaves, and other debris can accumulate on the panels, reducing their ability to capture sunlight.
• Energy-efficient practices. LED lighting, energy-efficient HVAC systems, and smart thermostats can all help reduce your overall energy consumption. The less energy you consume, the greater the percentage of your energy needs your solar panels can cover.
• Time of use. Solar panels produce more energy in the noon, making it a good time to do the laundry, turn on the air conditioner, start the dishwasher, or put a pie in the oven. If possible, schedule some of your housework for the daytime.
The profits that your panels bring depend on how you use them. Interested in learning more? Read the article on more ways to use solar panels efficiently!
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