how solar works

How Solar Works

There’s a lot of buzz these days about solar: how it saves you money, how it helps the environment and conserves energy, etc. Those are all valid points, but have you thought about how solar capabilities actually work? The process is simple yet amazing.

Here’s what we mean.

First, a bit of background. The market for solar energy is growing at a rapid pace. Solar power is more affordable and accessible in this country than it’s ever been. In fact, since 2008, U.S. installations have grown 17-fold from 1.2 gigawatts (GW) to an estimated 30 GW today — enough capacity to power 5.7 million homes, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Since 2010, the average cost of solar PV panels has decreased more than 60% while the cost of a solar electric system has decreased by 50%.

The sun gives off energy called photons, which travel to Earth over 93 million miles in just under nine minutes. For every hour of photons we receive, we could have a sufficient amount to satisfy our global energy needs. Yet, solar power only makes up about four-tenths of the consumer energy in this country. As new technology is discovered and utilized, we are beginning to use more and more of those photons to our advantage.

The Power of Solar Panels

All of these solar panels you see on house roofs, in fields, and on towers within big cities are working hard to capture the natural energy emitted from the sun, resulting in power for our homes and businesses. Once that energy from the sun is captured, it’s channeled to an inverter, where it is converted into electricity.

Let’s take a look at this in some simple steps:

  • Solar panels, also called solar modules, are placed in direct sunlight, such as on a roof. The silicon cells absorb the photons.
  • PV cells, or photovoltaic cells, convert that sunlight to DC electricity, or direct current electricity.
  • The inverter turns DC into AC electricity, or alternating current electricity. It also provides ground fault protection and system statistics such as voltage and current on AC and DC circuits, energy production, and optimal power point tracking.
  • The electrical panel then sends power to our homes and businesses.
  • The utility meter measures the energy you use and feeds any extra unused energy back to the main grid for widespread consumption.
  • When you generate more solar power than you need, the solar company gives you a credit to use that energy for its main grid. This is referred to as net metering. It also works in reverse. When you use more energy than you’re generating, such as during the night, you draw off those credits. Therefore, it’s in a constantly evolving state of flux.
  • Your solar panels are connected to the main grid at all times, so even on cloudy days, you’ll have the energy you need to power your home or business.

Having the right equipment and professional installation is key in making the power of the sun work for you.

Call Suntrific today for more information and to get rates. (855) 789-3400, or get a free quote.

One S. Church Ave., Suite 1200
Tucson, AZ 85701

(855) 789-3400


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- Chris G., Tucson, AZ

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