Thanks to the growing popularity of renewable energy sources, solar power is a very hot topic. And with good reason. The strain society places on the environment is getting out of control. But sustainability is not the only reason why you are asking questions like how does solar energy work. You know there are other benefits involved, which is why you are looking for more info.
This article will provide a basic picture of how solar energy is harvested, as well as how it eventually ends up powering homes and businesses. By the end, everything should make a lot more sense.
How Does Solar Energy Work?
Everything starts with abundant sunlight. And solar energy is all about catching rays from the most direct possible angle. It is a common belief that heat from the sun is what matters the most. However, the rays from the sun are the true source of solar power. In fact, hot days can actually decrease the efficiency of solar panels, just like cold and cloudy weather. Hence the reason for catching direct sunlight when harvesting green energy.
Equipment to Capture/Harvest the Sun’s Rays
Solar energy systems do not have to be complex. Because the equipment you need consists of solar panels, an inverter, and a battery bank if you really want one. In basic terms, the solar panels have silicone cells/crystals that can capture and hold energy from sun rays. But this energy cannot be used yet, seeing as it is DC voltage. Homes and businesses only use AC voltage, which means a conversion needs to take place. And this is what the inverter is for.
Converting the Captured Energy
Consider the converter the middle-man between the solar energy being harvested, and actually putting the energy to use. Every time you want to use green energy, it goes from the panels to the inverter, where the energy gets converted from DC to AC. The solar energy is also ready for use at this point, whether you need it for lights or appliances, it doesn’t matter.
Storing or Using the Converted Energy
Mentioned earlier is the optional battery bank. This will form part of the system if you want to store the energy you do not use. Keep in mind that without a battery bank, you will have to use solar energy on demand. This also means no renewable energy during the night. If you are still connected to the grid, you can switch between the two sources. But if you plan on living off the grid, it is recommended to have a battery bank in place.
How Long Does Solar Equipment Last?
Without any moving parts, solar equipment can last for several years. For instances, solar panels can be effective for twenty years, just like some solar batteries. As for inverters, a quality model can remain functional for up to ten years. But everything depends on the quality of the equipment you invest in.
And what about the sun? There are no worries there as it is set to stick around for another 5 billion years or so.