How Do Solar Panels Work on Houses?

Are you planning to buy solar panels to power your house? 

Today, you can find over two million solar installations throughout the United States. Because of its growing popularity among American homeowners, many are considering solar energy.

Before you buy a solar panel system, take the time to understand how they work. You do not want to install something onto your house without knowing how it functions. Keep reading for the answer to your question, “how do solar panels work,” and more. 

How Do Solar Panels Work On A House?

The solar power generation process is straightforward. Without getting into too many technicalities, we will answer, “how do solar panels work?” 

First, you need a surface with photovoltaic (PV) cells or solar panels. The PV cells convert sunlight they absorb into direct current (DC) energy. The DC energy goes to an inverter inside the house.

As the energy travels to the inverter, it turns into alternating current (AC) energy. AC is the electricity type home appliances use often. This energy flows through the electrical panel.

As it does, it powers appliances. The excess electricity goes to the electric grid. If you use more electricity than the PV panels can collect, you take electricity from the grid. 

How Solar Panels Generate Electricity

The typical solar panel or solar module has a layer of silicon cells, a glass casing, a metal frame, and writing. Even though it is not metal, silicon has specific conductive properties. These properties allow it to absorb and convert energy from the sunlight into electricity.

The conversion occurs through the photovoltaic effect. It is the initiated electrical flow setting electrons into motion. It occurs when sunlight interacts with a silicon cell. 

Sunlight needs to reach the silicon cells. It means solar panels will not work at night or on cloudy days.

How Many Solar Panels Should You Get for Your House?

Before buying solar panels, think about the amount of energy you use per year. Check your utility bills to discover the kilowatt-hours (kWh) you spend and get the annual average. The average American household uses 10,649 kWh of electricity per year. 

Next, learn about the solar panel wattage or power rating. It refers to the panel electrical output under ideal conditions. For our example, the average solar panel can produce 300 watts (W).

Determine the solar panel system production ratio over time (kWh) to the system size (W). Because weather conditions change, the production ratio varies as well. The typical estimates are between 1.3 and 1.6. 

Example Calculation

The formula is as follows: the number of solar panels is equivalent to the system size/production ratio/panel wattage.

Using the numbers and averages above, you arrive at this formula: Number of panels = 10,649 kWh / 1.3 or 1.6 / 300 W.

The answer is between 27 and 22 solar panels in a solar array. It depends on the production ratio. If you need help with calculations, search Google using the keyword “solar company near me” to help you.

Picking a Solar Panel Type

Solar panel systems have three different types. These include:

Grid-Tied System

The grid-tied system has a direct connection to your home and utility grid. It is the most popular type among homeowners. After all, it lets you switch between power sources.

If the solar panel system produces excess power, it goes back to the utility grid. You either sell the surplus energy back to the utility company. It is also an affordable solar panel system. 

Grid-Tied with Battery Backup

The grid-tied system with battery backup is similar to the first type. The difference is the additional battery bank. It is also more expensive because of the batteries. 

When the panels produce excess electricity, the power goes to the battery banks. You can use it later when the panels do not make enough power. You can also sell the power back to utility companies.

Off-Grid System

This solar panel system is the most expensive of the three. It only connects to your home and a battery bank. You can use it to power your home 24 hours a day, as long as you have a great battery.

Cost of a Solar Panel Installation

Solar panels today are more cost-effective than a decade ago.

The typical solar panel cost is between 50-70 cents per watt. If you had a 350W panel at 50 cents per watt, it costs $175. When your home needs 20 solar panels, the cost increases to $3500.

Do not forget about the solar panel installation costs. The rates depend on the solar company. Expect an average installation price of $15,000 to $30,000.

Advantages of Using Solar Panels for Your House

The reason for the solar panel trend is the renewable energy source. Solar energy does not have many harmful by-products. After all, it does not make poisonous gases, polluted water, or noise pollution.

The energy comes from the sun—an energy resource unlikely to run out within a few billion years. Solar panels offer other benefits beyond environment-friendliness. 

Collecting solar energy with solar panels can help reduce your energy bills. Instead of using electricity or gas, you can use solar power for your appliances. As you use less gas or electricity, you also pay fewer utility bills. 

You can get the maximum energy per solar panel at the right time. California is the leading state in solar use because it gets a lot of sunlight. On afternoons and evenings, you receive the most solar energy.

Finally, a solar panel roof is low-maintenance. You can clean the solar panels twice a year and change the inverters every decade. Plus, the warranties can last up to 25 years or more.

Start Your Solar Panel Roof Project Today

Now you can answer, “how do solar panels work?” You are also more certain whether getting solar panels for home use is worth your time.

However, learning about the inner workings of a solar panel is only the beginning. Study what to look for in a solar company to get the most out of your investment.

Did this guide help? If so, please consider reading our other posts now.

By Malik