Solar power works by harnessing the energy from the sun and turning it into usable electricity to power our daily lives.
Every hour, enough sunlight reaches the earth's surface to power our global energy demands for almost a year.
Solar panels are made with layers of silicon, a semiconductive material that helps to generate electricity.
When sunlight strikes the panels, electrons in the silicon are energized, creating a negative charge. They seek out positively charged protons to connect with, creating an electric current.
This electric current flows through the panel wiring to an inverter as direct current (DC) electricity, meaning it flows in one direction.
To become usable energy that can power your home, the direct current (DC) electricity must be converted to alternating current (AC) electricity by your inverter.
The electricity meter is your gateway to the power grid, providing a safe and accurate way to monitor the flow of electricity.
As the electricity passes through, your electricity meter monitors voltage and current, tracking the amount of energy you use and, in areas with net metering, the amount of energy you produce.
The U.S. power grid is a network of power suppliers (conventional and renewable), transmission and distribution infrastructure (like power lines and transformers), and consumers (homes and businesses).x
Electricity is shared among this network and produced only as it is used to avoid having to store large amounts of energy.
At any given time, the amount of electricity your solar panels produce may not equal the amount your home consumes. During peak daylight hours, your solar-powered home might produce more than it needs.
To account for this, some homes have access to net metering, and can earn credit on any surplus power produced and contributed to the power grid. You can then draw on that credit when production is low to further reduce your electricity bill.
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