How Solar Actually Works

“Solar energy—power from the sun—is a vast, inexhaustible, and clean resource”

You’ve probably started noticing more and more homes with solar panels on the roof. You may have even heard your friends, family and neighbors talk about their experience going solar. If they haven’t, chances are they know someone who has.

According to the 2017 report from the International Energy Agency, solar has become the world’s fastest-growing source of power – marking the first time that solar energy’s growth has surpassed that of all other fuels. In the coming years, we will all be enjoying the benefits of solar-generated electricity in one way or another.

What do you usually hear?

Probably the standard benefits: No money out of pocket, free installation, 24/7 maintenance and monitoring, and a lower electric bill. And of course, it’s widely known that solar energy is better for the environment than coal or natural gas.

So what about the science behind solar and how it actually works? Don’t worry, we have that covered for you.

There are five basic steps to how your home is powered by solar energy once the system is activated:

  • Solar Panels: When sunlight hits your solar panels, it converts the sun’s energy into what’s called Direct Current (DC) electricity and then sent to an inverter. Momentum Solar always uses the most efficient and high-quality solar panel technology.
  • Power Inverter: Power inverters convert the Direct Current (DC) into usable electricity called Alternating Current (AC).
  • Electrical Panel: The energy provided by your solar panels is used as needed. Any excess power is sent back into the utility grid.
  • Net Metering: When your solar panels produce more than you need during the sun’s peak hours, the excess electricity is automatically sent back into the utility grid. The meter actually spins backward and builds a ‘bank’ of credits with your utility company.
  • Electric Grid: Power from your utility company is continuously provided to you at night and during the day when the demand exceeds your solar production.
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