How Solar Works

Enough sunlight hits the earth every hour to power all of the world’s energy needs for a year! Solar energy systems silently and efficiently convert sunlight into electricity with no moving parts and minimal maintenance. In addition, solar systems operate pollution-free.

Solar panels, found on things like (spacecraft, rooftops, and handheld calculators) are made of semiconductor materials like those found in computer chips. When sunlight hits the cells, it knocks electrons loose from their atoms. As the electrons flow through the cell, they generate electricity.

The major elements of a solar system are:

Solar Modules (or Panels) – composed of several electrically connected photovoltaic cells mounted in a support structure or frame. These modules are designed to supply direct current (DC) electricity when photons from the sun’s light hit the cells. Electricity production is dependent upon how much sunlight hits the modules.

The Solar Array – is a group of solar modules connected together. Arrays can be mounted on pitched and flat rooftops, as well as on the ground. Most arrays are fixed, meaning they don’t move. With trackers, however, arrays can be installed to follow the path of the sun and maximize the amount of direct sunlight hitting the solar array.

Inverters – convert DC energy created by solar panels to AC energy in your home or building.

Production Meter – tracks total electricity production from your solar system.

Net Meter – the meter connected to the electrical grid. If you are producing more solar electricity than you are using, the electricity will pass through to your net meter and actually spin it backwards!