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Solar Panels, Frequently Asked Questions

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The demand for solar energy is increasing as the price of energy increases and salaries and incomes remain stable or decrease. Solar energy currently accounts for a very small amount of total energy output, but the interest in solar power is growing as the technology improves. Most people do not have a thorough knowledge of solar energy, and are seeking answers to frequently asked questions about solar energy and panels.

What is a Solar Panel?

The most frequently asked question about solar panels is how they are made. A solar panel is made of cells of semi-conductive material that absorbs light efficiently. The material is usually crystalline silicon that is arranged in the panel in layers with a clear, protective top polymer layer.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels conduct energy because the top layer is electrically negative, while the bottom layer is electrically positive. Sunlight hitting the cell knocks loose the electrons in the silicon layers, and because of the opposing charges the electrons move across the cell and pass through a circuit that transforms energy into electricity.

Each solar cell converts sunlight into electricity, as each cell is made of semi-conductor material like silicon which is treated so that a flow of electricity is created when it absorbs light.

Will Solar Panels Work When it is Cloudy Outside?

Another solar panel frequently asked question is whether the panels will work when the day is not bright and sunny. Even though it may be cloudy outside there is still sufficient light for the solar panels to produce electricity. Though most electricity production will occur on a bright and sunny day, even when skies are overcast about half as much electricity is still produced. In case of long spells of overcast days, the solar panels have backup connection to battery storage systems as a power source. If the electricity needs exceed the output of the solar panels the local utility company will make up for the shortfall, and conversely when more energy is produced than the home requires, the excess is sent to the utility grid which actually reversed the electrical meter.

Do Solar Panels Work in Winter?

Many people think solar energy comes from heat, when it actually comes from light. Days are shorter in winter so the solar panels may produce less power. Snow should be removed from the panels, but snow will melt quickly once the sun shines on the modules.

Can I Use the Same Amount of Energy with Solar Panels?

People considering solar panels frequently ask the question of the necessity of cutting back on the normal amount of power used in the home. Solar cells are now very efficient, and the same electrical appliances used with previous power sources can be used with solar panels. Since most solar panels are placed on the roof of a house, they are hooked into the electrical grid so that energy actually comes from several sources. Using solar panels do not affect energy usage.

Getting answers to the frequently asked questions about solar panels will resolve any issues about the effectiveness and efficiency of using solar panels as a green energy source.