How do residential solar panels work?

The concept of solar is well-known in North Carolina: solar panels convert sunlight into electricity. What’s less apparent is how solar panels work.

To help NC homeowners better understand the entire residential solar conduction sequence, we decided to map it out. Scan the diagram below to see how the sun’s energy gets from your solar panels to your home.

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Residential solar panels convert sunlight into electricity to save you money.
  1. Panels Convert Sunlight to Electricity – Solar panels turn sunlight into Direct Current electricity (DC).
  2. Inverter Turns DC to AC – The inverter we install converts DC into safe, usable Alternating Current electricity (AC) – the standard electrical current used in your home.
  3. Electricity Flows Through Breaker – The Alternating Current solar energy flows into your home, reducing or replacing the energy coming from the utility company.
  4. Excess Power Feeds Back to Grid – The energy your solar panels create allows you to produce more Alternating Current power than you will actually use. The excess power will then feed back to the power grid and will be credited to your bill for the following month.

How do solar panels save you money?

Solar panels absorb the sun’s rays and convert them into direct current electricity (DC) and/or heat. The DC flows into your home via an inverter, which converts the DC into alternating current power (AC) – the standard form of residential electricity.

Any leftover AC that you do not use will feed back to the power grid, resulting in a credit on your energy bill the following month.

Additionally, residents can use credits from excess electricity from higher production months to draw energy back from the grid during lower production months like fall and winter when their system isn’t producing as much electricity.

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Excess power gets fed back to the grid to offset your next energy bill.

How much sunlight do solar panels need to work?

Residential solar panels typically require unobstructed access to sunlight for most if not all of the day to reach their full conductive potential. Any shade on the solar panel system can limit the amount of light penetrating the solar cells, which could significantly reduce the amount of electricity the system can generate.

When and where do solar panels perform best?

Solar energy depends less on temperature and more on access to sunlight. That being said, North Carolina’s moderate climate makes it an ideal state for solar energy because we tend to enjoy steady sunshine year-round.

And while there is more daylight in the spring and summer months compared to fall and winter, there is no particular time of year in which solar panels will perform drastically better.

How do solar panels generate electricity?

Solar panels are collections of photovoltaic cells (or solar cells) made from silicon and other conductive elements. Each of these cells have positive and negative layers to establish an electric field. Light hitting the cell releases electrons from their atoms to flow through the electric field, which creates electricity.

How do solar panels connect to the power grid?

During installation, NC Solar Now will connect your solar panel system in parallel with your home’s electrical system. Your solar system will also be connected to the utility company through your home’s connection to the utility grid. Most North Carolina homes have net metering. That means homeowners can send any excess power back to the grid when their system overproduces in exchange for credit on their next utility bill.

Conversely, NC residents can use those credits to draw energy back from the grid in times like fall and winter.

Start saving thousands with solar.

Your solar panel array will make kilowatt hours of power every month, and the amount of kilowatt hours you create will be subtracted from the amount of kilowatt hours you consume. In some situations, the amount of power created is enough to eliminate all the kilowatt hours used by the home.

Contact NC Solar Now to speak with a residential solar expert about going solar today.