What Are Solar Panels And How Do They Work?
Solar panels are photoreactive panels that convert sunlight into electricity. Over the past decade, solar panels have become efficient, commonplace, and very reliable, contributing to an overall boom in renewable energy usage. But how do they work?
Your solar panels absorb sunlight. Then, that sunlight is turned into direct current (DC) electricity. The DC is sent down into your solar inverter to be converted into alternating current (AC) energy. Finally, that AC current is used to power your home. That’s generating solar energy in a nutshell – simple, clean, and efficient.
What are solar panels made of?
The most common solar panels, known as Photovoltaic solar panels (PV), consist of an array of solar cells. These solar cells are made of silicone material – similar to the materials used in semiconductors for computer chips. Solar panels have two layers – a negatively charged layer and a positively charged one.
Types of Solar Panels
Traditional Solar Panels
Traditional solar panels consist of monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon solar cells.
- Monocrystalline panels (Mono-SI) are made up of the purest type of silicon solar cell. They are darker in color and look more uniform than other traditional solar panels and are more efficient.
- Polycrystalline solar panels are made by melting down raw silicon. This process is a much faster and cheaper process than the method used for manufacturing monocrystalline solar panels. They are a more economical option.
Consist of thin layers of photovoltaic materials laid out on glass, plastic, or metal backings. Thin-film solar cells are much lighter and more flexible.
- Thin-film solar cells (TFSC) can be a more affordable option than monocrystalline solar cells because the thin film is straightforward to produce. Less material is needed to make a thin-film solar panel than a traditional panel, and thin films can also be produced in higher quantities.
New Solar Panel Technologies
Solar panel technology is always reaching new milestones. Some of the most recent breakthroughs are biohybrid solar cells and new solar panel manufacturers.
Solar Panel Frequently Asked Questions
We have the answers to all of your questions about solar panels. Here are a few frequently asked questions that we receive. There are even more questions on our FAQ page.
- Can you install solar on any type of roof?
Our contractors have installed on many different types of roofs, and there are very few limitations with our team. The main thing is that the mounting hardware will vary depending on material and panels used.
- How many solar panels do I need?
The number of solar panels that you need will vary depending on the amount of your electric bill. The average home in Southern California typically needs anywhere from 18-20 panels and will usually offset an electric bill of about $200 a month.
- If I lose power from the utility company, will my solar still work?
No. For your solar system to power your home in a grid outage, you would require battery storage for your home. We do offer those here at Semper so, if you are interested, please ask your sales rep.
- Can I use my solar if there is a power outage?
Unfortunately, your solar system does also turn off during the power outage unless you have battery storage. These are all grid-tied systems. They do need power recognized to be able to convert the energy from the Sun into usable power to the grid.
- What happens if there is an issue with my solar?
If, by any chance, there are issues with your panels, we try to troubleshoot with you through the phone remotely. If that does not work, we try to get one of our technicians out there by the next day, or sometimes the same day. If the problem still persists, please fill out our schedule service form.
- What warranties does Semper Solaris offer?
Semper Solaris Services
Solar Panel Maintenance and Repair
For preventative solar panel maintenance, we recommend checking your solar panels for dust and debris a few times per year. Whether damage from a hailstorm or a shorted circuit, our team at Semper Solaris can help you maintain your solar panels.