Solar panels fitted on roof

What is solar energy and how does it work?

Jordan Torres

Solar energy is a clean and renewable source of power that comes directly from the sun. It’s a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels and offers numerous benefits for both the environment and homeowners. In this blog, we’ll give you a crash course on what solar energy is, how it works, and its various applications and advantages. If you’re ready to invest in a greener future you can get a free quote here. In the meantime, let’s dive in!

What is the Solar Energy?

Solar energy is generated by converting sunlight into usable electricity through the use of solar panels. These panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which capture and convert the sun's rays into a direct current (DC) electrical flow. This flow is then converted into alternating current (AC) electricity, which can be used to power homes, businesses, and even entire communities.

Types of Solar Panels

There are different types of solar panels available, each with its own benefits and applications. Some common types include monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels. Monocrystalline panels are known for their high efficiency and sleek appearance, while polycrystalline panels are more affordable and slightly less efficient. Thin-film panels, on the other hand, require larger areas and are pretty inefficient for homes.

Advantages and Environmental Benefits of Solar Energy

Solar energy offers numerous advantages and environmental benefits. Firstly, it won’t run out so long as the sun keeps shining! Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy does not produce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, making it a clean and sustainable option.

How Does Solar Energy Work? [in 5 key steps]

1. Sunlight Hits The Solar Panels

When sunlight hits the solar panels installed on your rooftop, the panels absorb the energy from the sun's rays.

2. Photovoltaic Effect

Through the photovoltaic effect, the solar panels convert the absorbed sunlight into a direct current (DC) electrical flow.

3. Electron Movement

The DC electricity created by the panels causes the movement of electrons within the PV cells. This movement generates an electric current.

4. Current Is Converted

The direct current (DC) is then converted into alternating current (AC) electricity using an inverter. AC electricity is the type of power used in homes and businesses.

5. Power Is Stored Or Used

The AC electricity is either used immediately to power appliances and devices or stored in batteries for later use. It can also be sold back to the grid so homeowners can make their panels go further.

Understanding the Cost of Solar Panels & Batteries

The cost of solar panels and batteries can vary depending on various factors such as the size of the system, location, and quality of materials used.

If you're wondering whether solar panels are worth the investment, we have a great blog dedicated to answering that question here.

Solar Energy in the UK

Solar energy has been experiencing significant growth and adoption in the UK. As the country strives to reduce its carbon footprint, more households and businesses are turning to solar power. Government initiatives and policies in the UK have made solar energy more accessible through financial incentives and schemes.

The UK has a high potential for solar energy, despite our reputation for gloomy weather. Advances in technology, such as the use of solar tracking systems and higher efficiency panels, have improved the overall performance of solar installations even in less sunny regions.

Summary

 Solar energy is a clean and renewable energy source derived from sunlight. By using the power of solar panels, electricity can be generated and used to power homes, businesses, and communities. Solar energy offers numerous advantages, including reducing carbon emissions, saving money on electricity bills, and providing energy independence.

Ready to explore the benefits of solar energy for your home or business? Get a solar energy quote now and take advantage of the green revolution!

FAQ 

Is solar energy heat or light?

Solar energy consist of both heat and light. The sun emits electromagnetic radiation, including visible light, ultraviolet (UV) light, and infrared (IR) radiation. Solar panels can convert both light and heat into usable energy.

Do solar panels work on cloudy days?

Solar panels can still generate electricity on cloudy days, although their efficiency may be reduced. While direct sunlight produces the maximum energy output, solar panels can still convert diffuse sunlight or indirect sunlight into usable electricity.

How much energy does a solar panel produce?

This is a tricky one as it will depends on a few things. This includes size, efficiency, location, and the amount of sunlight it receives. If a standard solar panel is 350 W, then with this amount of power, it can produce an average of 265 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year in the UK.