How do solar panels work?

Solar power is generated from the sun – from solar energy. With solar panels, you will be able to harness the sun’s energy in two ways: light and heat.

Solar panels use the photovoltaic (PV) effect to generate electricity from sunlight.

When sunlight hits the PV cells in your solar panels, electrons are knocked loose and start to move around in a closed circuit. This is electricity, in its basic form, which is primarily Direct Current (DC) electricity. This low voltage DC electricity is then converted into high voltage Alternating Current (AC) electricity by an inverter which is connected to your solar panels. This AC electricity can then be used in your home immediately during the day or stored in a solar battery for use at night.

A common misconception is that solar panels use the sun’s heat to generate electricity. Conversely, too much heat can reduce your solar panels’ efficiency. The perfect condition for solar panels is a mild, sunny day of about 25 degrees Celsius.

The number of solar panels you have, or the size of your solar power system, will also dictate how much electricity you can generate for your home. Solar systems are sized in kilowatts, and each kilowatt of your system will generate between 3 and 5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy per day. Generally, about 3 or 4 solar PV panels make up 1 kilowatt.

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