Using the Sun for Power – How It Works

With massive rebate programs and tax credits being issued by state and federal governments, using the sun to generate electricity is very popular. So, how does it work? Generating electricity from the sun is all about converting sunlight into power. Importantly, the process has nothing to do with converting the heat produced by sunlight into energy. This common misconception leads to a lot of confusion regarding solar systems. The technology behind solar systems is known as photovoltaic technology. Essentially, this technology involves using sunlight to create a chemical reaction. During the chemical reaction, electrons are released from the relevant material and collected by tiny wires. This process creates a direct current of electricity. The electricity is then converted to usable alternating current electricity and stored in a battery or fed into a utility grid system. Solar platforms use this exact process to produce energy. The arrays are made up of small squares called photovoltaic cells. A collection of these cells forms a single panel and a collection of panels makes up a “solar array.” The size of your array is entirely dependent upon the amount of electricity you want to produce. The photovoltaic cells in a solar array are where the action happens. The cells are typically made with crystalline silicon under a glass cover. When sunlight hits the crystalline silicon, the material reacts by kicking off electrons. Tiny wires built into the cells collect the electrons in the form of an electrical current. This current is then sent to an inverter, which converts it to usable electricity. The biggest issue with solar platforms is how efficiently they convert sunlight into electricity. The answer depends on how much you want to spend. Top brands will convert at roughly 15 percent efficiency. Less expensive brands will convert at 5 to 10 percent efficiency. The more efficient the panels, the fewer you will need. It has become clear that our reliance on fossil fuels is only going to lead to further problems, whether political, environmental or economic. Advancements in solar technology as well as incredible tax breaks and rebates make using the Sun as an energy source a viable solution for you.

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