Technology

How solar energy works

A detailed understanding of how solar power works is an important requirement for acquiring or assembling a solar power system. This article contains a range of information on how solar power works and can guide you in choosing the best option for your home or business.

Solar energy has been used in homes, businesses, industry, rural areas, and through solar power plants to generate electricity, and in addition to being an alternative, renewable and clean energy source, it is an excellent option to save on electricity bills. Solar energy comes from solar panels that capture light, using the heat of the sun’s rays to generate electricity (in photovoltaic solar systems and solar thermal) or to heat liquids (thermal solar). There are 3 types of solar energy: photovoltaic solar, solar thermal, and solar thermal. Each works in a different way.

Photovoltaic solar energy works through the photovoltaic effect to generate electricity; solar thermal energy uses the sun as an energy source to heat liquids; solar thermal energy also heats liquids and uses the steam produced to drive turbines. The operation of photovoltaic solar systems uses solar panels to capture light and generate a direct current through the photovoltaic effect, which is converted to alternating current by solar inverters. In this way, electricity can be distributed, generated energy credits, or stored on-site. Learn more about the operation of these solar power generation systems: Before we understand how solar power system work, we must understand the photovoltaic effect responsible for generating solar power.

How does the photovoltaic effect work?

The function of photovoltaic solar energy is based on the phenomenon that occurs when sunlight particles (photons) collide with the silicon atoms present in the solar panel, resulting in the displacement of electrons and thus the generation of direct current, which is called photovoltaic solar energy.

How does photovoltaic solar work?

The working scheme of a photovoltaic solar power system is to capture light with solar panels, generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect, convert the electricity from DC to AC through a solar inverter, and then the electricity is distributed. Photovoltaic solar systems work in 3 ways, depending on the type of system installed:

  • Grid-connected solar system (grid-connected);
  • Isolated or autonomous photovoltaic systems (off-grid);

Hybrid solar power system.

We can differentiate the function of photovoltaic systems according to their operating mode, as grid-tied systems work by plugging energy directly into the grid, while off-grid systems work by batteries that store electricity. A hybrid system, on the other hand, operates simultaneously between on-grid and off-grid, so its work is connected to the grid while the battery pack is charging and vice versa.

How does a grid-connected PV system work?

See solar system working diagram:

  • Solar panels generate photovoltaic solar energy
  • Solar inverters convert solar energy for your home or business
  • Solar energy is used by appliances and equipment
  • Excess energy flows to the distribution network, generating credits

Solar panels generate photovoltaic solar energy

Solar panels react with sunlight and generate electricity (photovoltaic energy). The solar panels mounted on the roof are connected to each other and then to your solar inverter:

Solar inverters convert solar energy for your home or business

Solar inverters convert solar energy from photovoltaic panels from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). That is, an inverter converts electrical current into electricity that can be used in your home or business for TVs, computers, machines, and any electrical equipment you need to use.

Solar power for business and home 

The electrical energy leaving the solar inverter goes into your “light panel” and is distributed to your home or business. Since this energy is generated by you, there is no cost to using it. Therefore, the energy you buy from the dealer can be reduced. However, it is important to note that each energy distributor has rules and requirements for connecting their PV solar systems to the grid. This is why it is important to ask for a quote from an experienced company that can come to your location to evaluate and provide a closed quote for your PV system.

Solar energy is used by appliances and equipment

Solar energy can be used for televisions, audio equipment, computers, lights, electric motors, everything that uses electricity and is connected to an outlet. The excess energy goes into the distributor’s network, generating credit!

After installing a solar system, your old light clock will be replaced with a new light clock that is “two-way” (measures energy input and output). This light clock measures the energy consumed from the street when there is no sun, and the excess solar energy produced when production is greater than consumption and injected into the distribution network.

The solar energy that goes into the grid becomes an energy credit. Energy credits are measured in kilowatt-hours. For every additional kWh, your solar PV system produces, you’ll receive 1 kWh of credit to consume over the next 60 months. That way, at the end of the month, when you get your electricity bill, you’ll see how much energy you’re consuming from the grid, and how much energy you’re pumping into the grid. If you pump more into the network than you consume, you’ll earn energy credits, ensuring even more savings on your electricity bill.

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