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Technician wearing a hardhat squatting on a roof covered in solar panels checking them for efficiency with a handheld meter

You know that solar power is free, clean, environmentally-friendly, quiet, and doesn’t give off any greenhouse gases, but just how does a solar energy system work?
The sun produces a lot of energy, more than we could ever use in our life time, but to use this energy as electricity to power our homes and businesses, we first need to collect it and convert it to something useable.

Your Solar Panels

The solar panels on your roof contain photovoltaic (PV) cells, or solar cells, made from silicon like a semiconductor; they create an electric field just like a battery does. There are many cells in one solar panel, and many panels can be joined together to create more energy. That’s why you see roofs covered in solar panels. The more sunlight you can collect, the energy you can create.

Direct Current Electricity

The solar panels create direct current (DC) electricity, the same as a battery, meaning the electrons flow in one direction around a circuit. However, we need alternating current electricity (AC), meaning electrons are pushed and pulled, and keep changing direction. It’s AC electricity that runs through your house or business when you turn on a switch or plug something in.

Your Solar Inverter

Your solar inverter does all the work of changing the DC electricity to AC electricity so we can use it. Older solar energy systems had only one inverter for the entire solar array, but new technology uses an inverter on the back of every solar panel to maximise efficiency. When one central inverter was used, a problem with just one solar panel would affect the performance of the entire array. Today, every panel has its own inverter, so if one isn’t performing efficiently, the rest will still go about creating power.

Putting it All Together

When the sun hits the solar panels they convert the energy to DC electricity, which flows to the inverter and converts it to AC electricity, powering your home or business. The entire process is clean, free, and quiet.

Storing Excess Power for Later

Once the sun’s energy has been converted into a useable energy source, it needs to be used straight away, or you won’t get the benefits of free electricity. However, if you’re not home during the day or can’t use all the power, your solar energy system creates it will just go to waste. This won’t happen if you store the excess in batteries to use at night, or on days when the sun isn’t shining.

Different solar energy systems will require different batteries. Budget, ambient temperatures, available space, and energy usage are all factors that should be taken into consideration.

Consult with the Experts

By using batteries to store excess solar power, you’re ensuring maximum efficiency of your solar energy investment, and you’ll dramatically cut your utility bills. Gem Energy is the expert when it comes to solar energy. We’ll give you the best advice on making your solar energy system work hard for you. Call us on 1300 969 471, or contact us online.

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