Large modern house with solar panels on the roof

How Does Solar Power Work?

Solar energy is a way of leveraging power and heat from the sun and using it to power items in the home. Solar power is generated from solar panels, which can be placed on individual roofs or cover whole areas of land called solar farms. This article will look at how solar power works and how it can be used to power devices like whole home generators.

How Does The Sun Produce Solar Power?

Solar power refers to converting energy from the sun into heat and power. Solar panels are made from silicon and are protected by glass panels encased in a metal frame. When light particles hit the silicon, they create an electric current by knocking off an atom particle, known as an electron, from the silicon.

This electric current is captured by the wires in a solar panel, which converts its current form (a direct current, or DC) into a format that can be used in the home (alternative current, or AC). Solar power is produced similarly by individual solar panels or larger ‘solar farms’. Solar farms are large solar panels grouped to generate more energy, often fed directly into the grid.

What Makes Solar Panels A Form Of Clean Energy?

Solar panels produce energy entirely sustainably from an environmentally-friendly source. As long as the sun shines, solar energy can be produced. Solar panels last up to 30 years and can also be made of recyclable materials, meaning they have a very low carbon footprint. 

What Is A Solar Thermal Panel?

A solar thermal panel differs from a traditional solar panel (also known as a solar PV panel) because it produces heat rather than power. Solar thermal panels are far more simple than power-generating panels. They use the sun to directly heat the water by placing water tanks on roofs to generate hot water that feeds directly into people’s homes. 

How Much Is Solar Power Used In The US?

Solar energy in the US powers over 18 million homes and is approximately 3% of the energy produced by the US. Growth around the solar sector has increased by almost 170%, with over 250,000 US citizens involved in jobs relating to solar power. China is currently the largest producer of both solar panels and solar energy.

Do Solar Panels Work When It’s Cloudy?

Solar panels will still work during cloudy days, as they often require a minimum amount of daylight to work effectively. On days with cloud coverage, solar panels can generate 10-25% of the same energy as they would in direct sunlight. They generate the most power in direct sunlight, and the total power generated depends on their placement, exposure to sunlight and the number of solar panels installed.

When Was Solar Power First Discovered?

Solar power was first discovered over 5,000 years ago when humans used reflective surfaces in sunlight to light fires. It wasn’t until the 1800s when a young scientist called Edmond Becquerel discovered that batteries exposed to sunlight produce more electricity. In the 1950s, the very first silicon cells were developed, which evolved into the solar panels you see today.

Can Solar Panels Power Whole Home Generators?

If your solar panels are connected to the grid, they will not work during power outages. This is a safety feature to avoid electricity being delivered to lines when the power is down. However, Generator Supercenter’s home generators can be connected to your internal solar system to help prepare you for any power outages. Connecting a home solar panel system to your generator can help ensure that your generator can keep your home running sustainably, even if the power goes down.

Final Thoughts

Solar panels are a clean, renewable energy source that produces energy by knocking electrons off silicon cells to produce an electric current. The production of solar panels also has a very low carbon footprint, and they can last up to 30 years overall. Solar energy was first discovered as early as 5,000 years ago and currently produces up to 3% of US energy. 

Solar panels are also incredibly useful during power outages, where they can power whole home generators when the grid goes down. With a whole home generator’s support, you can leverage solar energy’s power to keep your home running during a blackout.
Do you want to learn more about how solar energy can help you? Contact us at Generator Supercenter to start your journey to sustainable energy.

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