How do Solar Panels Work?
Solar energy is increasingly a hot topic, especially in renewable energy circles. Many thought it was not a viable option for us in Alaska due to our short days for a majority of the year. However, with advances in technology, solar energy is consistently becoming a more cost effective and earth friendly power source for Alaskans. Here’s why:
How do solar panels generate electricity?
- First, solar panels are made up of two layers. The top layer is silicon infused with phosphorous and has a negative charge. The bottom silicon layer has a dose of boron and has a positive charge. Together they create and electronic imbalance.
- Second, photons from the sun (it works on a sunny or cloudy day) penetrate the solar cell and interact with the imbalance. During the interaction, some of the electrons from the bottom layer shoot to the top of the cell and flow into the metal contacts as electricity. Some of the electrons flow back into the cell by way of a contact layer at the boom, thus creating a closed circuit.
How does solar energy work with a home or business?
- Once the current leaves the array of solar cells, it flows to an inverted through a wire conduit.
- The inverter changes the energy from a fixed current to an alternating current (AC).
- Our homes and businesses run on AC, so the power is now usable energy.
- From the inverter, the AC flows into the circuitry of your house.
What happens with excess energy?
- If you are on a city or municipal power grid, excess energy can flow back into their grid. In Alaska, you will get credit from Chugach Electric and MLP for the energy you put back into their system. This credit usually goes toward the energy you use at night when the panels aren’t active.
- If you choose to have an “off-grid” system, the excess power is stored in batteries hooked up to your home and can be used in the evenings.
- You can have a battery system set up even if you are “on the grid” and not have energy feedback to the municipal system but keep it for your own use.
For those interested in alternative power sources at their home or remote cabin, solar energy is a more viable option that every before. At Moore, we offer solar powered air conditioners for those looking for renewable energy options.