In recent years, solar energy has gained significant popularity and recognition as a clean, renewable energy source. Its growing significance lies in its abundant availability, cost-effectiveness, and environmental benefits. To fully grasp the potential of solar energy, it is crucial to understand how it works for both residential and commercial buildings.

The Sun’s Energy

The sun, a burning ball of gas, generates enormous energy. The sun produces light and heat that radiates into space through nuclear fusion. This energy travels from the sun to Earth through solar radiation, taking approximately eight minutes to complete the journey.

It sustains life on our planet, providing warmth and nourishment to plants through photosynthesis and serving as the primary driver of weather patterns.

Solar radiation is abundant and essentially limitless. It radiates into space in all directions, and only a small fraction reaches the Earth’s surface. However, this fraction is still more than enough to meet the world’s energy needs.

solar panel on new build house

Solar Panels: How They Work

Solar panels are the primary tool in harnessing solar energy. These panels comprise photovoltaic cells that capture and convert sunlight into usable electricity. When sunlight hits a solar panel, each photovoltaic cell absorbs some of the light and converts it into a direct (DC) electrical current. The electrical current is then collected by metal conductive plates embedded in the solar panel.

The DC that the solar panels produce is unsuitable for households or businesses. To make this current usable, it must be converted to alternating current (AC) using an inverter. The AC is then sent to the electrical grid or a battery storage unit for later use.

Converting Solar Energy

The electricity generated by solar panels is in the form of direct current (DC), whereas most appliances and power grids use alternating current (AC). To bridge this gap, an inverter converts DC electricity into AC electricity. The inverter ensures that the solar energy produced can power household appliances and be compatible with the existing electrical grid.

Solar panels are designed to withstand various environmental factors such as heat, cold, and precipitation. They are made with durable materials and protective coatings to ensure long-term performance and reliability.

people installing solar panels

Utilising and Storing the Energy

Converted solar energy has various applications and uses. It can power multiple electrical devices, from home lighting fixtures to factory machinery. Excess energy generated can be fed back into the power grid, allowing homeowners to earn credits or payments from local utility companies.

To enhance the versatility of solar energy, energy storage options are available. This allows users to store surplus energy produced during the day and use it during periods of low solar production or at night. Energy storage systems such as lithium-ion batteries and flow batteries are commonly used for this purpose.

Our team at Go Green Solar offers a FREE, no-obligation feasibility assessment to check your compatibility with our systems if you’re not sure your home is appropriate for solar panels. We also provide technical and useful assistance, such as a Technical Survey that calculates the free space on your roof.

How to Know if Your Solar Panel is Working

Determining if a commercial or residential solar panel is functioning properly is essential for ensuring optimal energy production.

There are multiple additional indicators that your solar panels are working; these include:

  1. Check your utility bill: One way to tell if your solar panels are functioning well is to compare your utility bills. If your bill significantly decreases after installing solar panels, it’s a good indication that they are generating electricity.
  2. Monitor your inverter: Inverters are an essential component of solar panel systems as they convert the DC electricity produced by the panels into AC electricity for use in your home. Monitoring the inverter for error codes or warning lights can provide insights into the system’s performance.
  3. Use a solar panel monitoring system: Many solar panel installations include monitoring systems that allow you to track energy production in real-time. These systems provide data on the energy generated, allowing you to identify any issues or deviations from expected performance.
  4. Visual inspection: Regularly inspecting your solar panels can help identify any visible issues such as cracks, dirt accumulation, or shading from nearby objects like trees or buildings. If you notice any damage or obstructions, it’s advisable to contact a professional installer for further assessment.
solar panels on a house

Solar energy is a compelling and sustainable alternative to traditional energy sources. Its popularity and significance stem from its abundance, affordability, and environmental benefits.  

At Go Green Solar Group, we are pleased with our work to support businesses in North West England. So, if you’re considering installing solar panels on your business property, please contact us; we are always delighted to assist.