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The Basics: How Solar Panels Work

Solar power is a big consideration for homeowners in Minneapolis and around the country. Having solar panels installed on your home will completely change how your home receives energy. Instead of being dependent on the major energy companies, you’ll produce your own energy from a renewable energy source: the sun! This will reduce your impact on the environment while cutting down on your home’s monthly energy bills. Considering these benefits, it’s not surprising that solar panels are growing in prevalence among homeowners today.

That said, how exactly do Minneapolis solar panels function to generate power for your home? Solar panels contain advanced technology to harness the sun’s energy and convert it into usable power for your household needs. This article will explore the details of how solar panels work to help you decide whether solar panels are the right choice for your home.

Converting Sunlight Into Energy

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells. These cells collect energy from the sun and transform it into energy that your home can use. Each solar panel consists of a group of connected photovoltaic cells, which work together to draw in sunlight and produce electricity.

Photovoltaic cells need an electric field to function. Opposite charges must be separated to create an electric field. In the case of solar panels, silicon with phosphorus and boron, which provides alternating positive and negative charges, is used to produce the electric field.

a minneapolis home with solar panels

Silicon, Phosphorus, and Boron

The silicon, phosphorus, and boron in solar panels produce electricity by knocking off an electron from atoms. With the alternating charges of the phosphorus and boron, the panel can collect a photon from the sun, leaving an electron free to produce electricity. The phosphorus is the top layer of a solar panel, providing a negative charge, followed by the boron, which offers a positive charge.

Connecting To Your Utility Meter

With an understanding of how solar panels create electricity, we can talk about how that electricity ends up fueling your home. The energy company has to keep track of the amount of energy that your solar panels produce, and it does so through metering.

Your home’s utility meter allows your energy company to track how much power your solar panels produce. When your solar panels are installed, they’ll be hooked up to your home’s utility meter. This meter will keep track of how much energy your solar panel system generates and access the energy whenever you need it.

solar panels being shown on spanish roof in Minneapolisstyle roof

The Number of Panels Makes a Difference

The number of solar panels that you have installed for your St. Louis Park home will impact how much energy your home is capable of producing. Simply, more solar panels will produce more energy, given that the higher number of solar panels will be able to capture more of the sun’s energy.

Your solar panel experts will help you decide how many solar panels your home needs for optimal energy production. In addition to the number of solar panels, the position of the panels will be important to ensure that your solar panel system collects as much energy from the sun as possible.

Net Metering

Net metering is the system that compensates solar panel system owners when their solar panels produce more energy than their homes require. Your home may not always use up all of the energy that your solar panels generate. The additional energy will go to the grid and power nearby home’s energy needs. With net metering, you can feel good in knowing that you’ll be credited for the extra energy that your system produces.

Net-metered homes have electricity meters that move in reverse when the electricity produced exceeds the home’s consumption, typically at night or when the homeowner is away. The homeowner will then only be charged for his or her net energy use. This makes for lower energy bills for solar panel system owners, as well as the potential to become entirely energy independent.

Solar panels are one of the best investments that you can make in your home. Contact Midwest Construction today to learn more about solar panel installation and how it can benefit your home.

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