Solar energy has been around for a few decades now, and there is no indication that it will be going anywhere any time soon. This is also doubly true for residential solar energy systems. These systems save the consumers up to several thousand dollars a year on regular energy costs and the consumer also has the peace of mind of no longer having to rely on the electrical company or another third party energy provider. The solar energy system achieves this by using solar panels with photovoltaic cells to capture energy directly from the sun. This was considered a complicated technology when it first came around a few decades ago, but the process has been perfected and simplified to the point where it is now an easily understandable and affordable technology. The installation process is very simple and is often completed before any money changes hands. The process is laid out below.
- Solar panels with photovoltaic cells are first installed on the house, and they are usually placed on the roof or on a different area which receives a large amount of sunlight during the day. More sunlight is better for the solar panels, since that is where they will get the energy from. The panels are connected to each other using modules, and the modules are connected using arrays.
- The solar panels use the photovoltaic cells on them to capture energy directly from the sun, converting sunlight to direct current energy.
- Once the sunlight is converted to energy, the direct current electricity is sent off to an inverter. And once it gets to the inverter, the energy gets converted to alternating current, a form more usable for the household.
- At the inverter, the alternating current is then sent on to a fuse box or something similar where the energy is to be used or sent off elsewhere. Then there are a few options.
- Once at the fuse box, the now alternating current energy can go in a number of directions. The most direct one is sending the energy directly to the home to be used. At the home, it is used to power lights, appliances, and pretty much anything else that needs energy to operate. This is the same as any other energy system. Another option is to send the energy off to be stored for later use. When solar power was still very new, the ability to store energy for later use was not yet possible. Now it is. This storage is done using a type of battery. All excess energy is sent from the fuse box off to the battery to be stored. The fuse box will first send some of the energy it receives directly to the home, and the rest is excess.
This ability to store the energy is the most important aspect here. Without this ability to store the energy for later use, the system would not be nearly as effective. Solar energy really took off as a viable option once this became a possibility.