Most of us know that solar panels convert sunlight to electricity. But how does this magic happen? And why does it mean big savings for solar power users?
When light particles from the sun – called photons – hit solar panels, they ‘shake out’ electrons, the part of an atom that carries an electric charge. Those electrons are then streamed into a one-directional circuit. This is called Direct Current (DC) and it’s where DC Power Co gets its name.
But all of our appliances run on the other kind of electricity, called Alternating Current (AC) – named because the electrons run in both directions. So the DC current has to be converted to AC. This is done with a device called an inverter and this is why the inverter is one of the most important parts of your solar system.
Once the inverter does its work, the solar power is exactly the same type as the electricity that’s always come out of our powerpoints at home (only much better for the planet).
The really great news is these newly-converted solar electrons are not just green, but are also working tirelessly to save money for the solar system owners who captured them. This is because less power is being purchased from the grid and when excess solar power is produced, it can be sold back into the electricity grid for other people to use.
And those savings can be huge. A two-person household with 10 solar panels could save $500 a year (meaning their system will pay for itself in 5-7 years) and a four-member family with 16 panels could knock up to $1000 off their bills – and get back their investment in 4-6 years.
Just one of the many reasons that running your house on sunshine makes a lot of sense. And cents.