Solar Power in Maryland

How does solar energy work?

Solar panels and the power they produce continue to be the talk of the town as far as energy sources are concerned. So get on the wagon by knowing how solar energy works.

Solar energy is converted to electrical power through solar panels’ photovoltaic (PV) cells. It follows the photoelectric effect principle, where the right material can absorb solar radiation and produce electrically charged particles, becoming a clean source of electrical current.

What Is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is the cleanest, most reliable renewable energy produced by the sun. It is carried by electromagnetic radiation as a wave and as a photon (the subatomic particle released by the sun). This type of energy can be converted into electricity through solar panel systems typically installed on rooftops within a residential, business, and private buildings.

The use of solar energy as an alternative to fossil fuel is a breakthrough. Aside from saving money on your electric bills, you can also enjoy other perks of having solar panels, such as receiving solar tax credits.

How does solar energy work
Solar Panels in Maryland

What Makes a Solar Panel?

The panel system uses PV cells (also known as solar cells), made of semiconductors that absorb photons and convert them into electrons. The most common material used for solar cells is silicon.

Silicon is the planet’s second most abundant element, making it a widely available semiconductor. It comes in three different types:

The PV cells are arranged into arrays. First, the panel is placed in a metal frame while the wiring is kept inconspicuously. Then, a glass casing with special film covers the cells for protection.

How Do Solar Panels Create Electricity?

The PV cells of solar panels absorb sunlight during the day. As the radiation hits the panel, it interacts with the two layers of silicon which are oppositely charged.

The photons from the sunlight become excited by the electromagnetic field produced by the positively and negatively charged silicon layers. As a result, it generates loose electrons directed to specific movements by a wafer, producing electrical currents.

Solar panels generate direct currents. However, household appliances and other electrically-powered equipment require an alternating current. Therefore, unless DC is converted to AC, electrical energy remains stored. To remedy this gap, inverters are needed.

Once the solar-generated electricity is ready, it connects to the electrical panel, which shares the same space with the traditional power sources provided by the electric grid. You can still rely on your solar energy during power outages and even sell excess electricity as renewable energy credits.

Solar Energy Systems

Solar Energy Systems Applications

Installing solar systems for energy use has a wide range of applications. Before its commercial popularity, the concept of deriving electricity from the sun, which eliminates carbon footprint, was confined in the walls of large institutions. But today’s solar power system reaches even simple homes.

The PV cells are arranged into arrays. First, the panel is placed in a metal frame while the wiring is kept inconspicuously. Then, a glass casing with special film covers the cells for protection.

5 Things To Do Before Getting Solar Panels

Having solar panels in your house or establishment brings numerous benefits. But before you jump to making a decision about having it installed, do the following first.

1. Understand the Amount of Sunlight in Your Area

If you’re living in places where sunlight is accessible for most of the day, then you’re lucky enough to have the opportunity of harvesting more solar energy. It is still worth your investment even if sunlight is a bit scarce, but you may need to add more panels if you want added power. With that, evaluate how much sunlight you experience in your locality.

2. Get Solar Installation Estimates

Let’s be honest, solar panels and installation costs can be hefty. They may vary, though, depending on the service provider. To hit the right budget, request upfront costs.

3. Assess Your Roof Space

Solar panels are typically installed on your roof. If you’re planning to have the entire roof or just a certain section occupied, measure the surface area for a precise cost estimate.

4. File for the Necessary Permits

Since solar panels are treated as a home upgrade, you may have to secure permits in your local zoning. Check what laws apply for the installation with your local office and file the permits before getting the panels.

5. Consult a Reliable Solar Panel Provider and Installer

If you want a solar system worth the initial and maintenance costs, go for a provider that stands out among solar installation companies in terms of quality, service, and integrity. Do your research and book a consultation first before making your decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, solar panels will continue to generate electricity even if the power goes out. First, it’s not connected to the traditional power sources of the utility grids, so it’s not going to be affected by the outage. As long as solar energy is stored and converted to electricity, you can use your appliances and electrical devices in the middle of a blackout.

Solar panels continue to work even during winter. In fact, it may become even more efficient as some snow-filled areas have more light during this season. Keep in mind that sunlight is the source of solar energy and not heat. On the other hand, if the daytime is shorter during winter, it could also narrow the window of time when solar panels can collect solar energy.

Solar panels can last between 15 to 25 years. This will depend on the type of PV cells in the solar panel, regular maintenance, and overall quality of the equipment. To find the most durable, go for solar panels with high efficiency and durability.

Is Solar Energy Worth the Investment?

Given its financial benefits and eco-friendly mechanism, investing in a solar energy system is worth your time and money. Its return on investment runs for the longest term, and it adds more value to your home or business. If unsure, learn more about solar panels and book a consultation with a trusted company.