The sun shines every day and provides millions with a reliable and clean source of power. Some of this power gets used for our daytime lighting, and for allowing living plants to grow. Most of the rest of this power gets converted to incidental heat. Did you know that the power of sunlight can also be converted into electricity to run your appliances, lights, and charge your batteries?

Perhaps you’ve heard about solar energy from your neighbors, friends, etc. Solar energy could be a good fit for you, your wallet, the environment, and everyone else. Plus, it is a lot of fun seeing the power of sunlight being put to good use almost instantly.

Let’s take a look into how solar energy works.

 

graphic of solar power generating process

How Do Solar Panels Work?

The sun shines 3 x 1026 watts of energy and about 1.74 x 1017 watts strikes the earth. This means for about every one square meter (or about 10 square feet of earth’s surface), one kilowatt of energy is received. So that means your average backyard swimming pool (48 square meters/ 516 square feet) will receive 288 kilowatts of energy on one day over a 6-hour time frame. That’s about 10x the energy an average US household needs in one day! The only issue is not wasting this energy, but rather how to collect it for direct usage. This is where solar panels come in to help harvest this energy.

When a solar array is installed on your home’s roof or ground, the sun’s rays hit the panels and turned into DC power. Since most homes are wired to use AC power, an inverter is used to convert DC into AC power. Once converted into AC power, you can start to use the power to run your appliances, lights, AC, and electronic devices, knowing that it was generating by a free, clean, renewable energy source.

Somedays you will use more power than what your system might produce; that’s why most homeowners choose to stay connected to the utility grid. Through net metering, you can get credit for the unused energy you send to the grid, while still being able to draw on-demand power from your electric company at night or during cloudy days.

Contact Belmont Solar if you want to learn more about how the sunlight can be put to good use for you.

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