How Solar Panels Work

Solar panels although simple they are far from boring. It’s only until you learn how solar panels work that you truly appreciate how clever they are.

So, how do solar panels work?

The first thing to know is that panels rely on light from the sun, not heat. In fact, most solar panels become less efficient in extremely hot conditions.

Solar panels convert sunlight into DC electricity. When photons from sunlight strike the silicon cell in the solar panel, electrons are released. The freed electrons race around and, with the help of an electric field, create energy in the process.

how solar panel works

The electrons flow through the panel and string (which connects each of the panels on your roof in a traditional set-up) eventually making their way to the solar inverter.

The inverter converts the DC power from the panels into AC electricity for your home. Your inverter also changes the voltage from the panels to match the voltage in your house (which is around 240V).

solar diagram

In most residential set-ups, excess power created by your solar panels is fed back into the grid, meaning your utility may credit you the next time your power bill arrives. Increasingly, homes are being fitted with solar batteries which store additional power for later use.  

More on solar panels

Solar panels are made up of interconnected ‘silicon cells’ joined together to form a circuit. They may look the same at face value, but they come in different sizes, styles and are available for different purposes. A typical residential panel uses a 60-cell configuration, with larger 72-cell panels often fitted in large-scale installations.

When space is tight or flexibility is the order of the day, smaller panels (coupled with micro inverters) are also an option.

It always pays to choose premium quality solar panels over cheap and inferior alternatives. We’ve covered this extensively in a previous blog, but basically, premium panels will have cells that contain purer silicon (to prevent micro-cracks), less deviation between the cells (eliminating mismatch) and higher efficiency and longevity. This all combines to give you a smoother solar energy experience and one which is more likely to meet and exceed your savings expectations.

Find out more

If you’d like to find out more about individual solar panel specifications, check out our products page. Here you can research and compare performance and specifications of solar panels from a range of leading global brands or contact us to find out more