Solar Energy

By: Audrey Moore

Solar Energy Definition

Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies.

Solar Energy Types

The two types of solar energy are: photovoltaic and thermal.

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How Does Solar Energy Work?

Photovoltaic (PV) panels are placed on your roof. If possible, the panels will be north facing, or north-east or north-west facing, so that they are able to capture the most energy possible.

The solar panels on your roof collect the sun’s radiance during the day. They are made of silicon and only need the sun’s radiance to work, so even on a cloudy day they will still generate power – albeit with lower production than on clear days.

As the PV panels collect the sun’s rays, they convert them into Direct Current (DC) electricity.

This DC power is then sent to an inverter which converts that DC power into Alternating Current (AC) electricity. The inverters we use are made by leading manufacturer Enasolar.
The converted AC power is then fed into your home’s wiring system, where it will power your lights, appliances, or anything else that uses electricity in your home. (At night, the solar panels aren’t able to produce power, so you switch back to drawing power directly from the grid).

If you produce more power from your PV system than you are actually end up using in your home, the excess power is automatically fed back into the public grid, and you will be given a credit for that contributed electricity by your power company.

An export / import meter is installed by the power company to monitor how much is being imported or exported during the day so they know how much to charge you at the end of the month.

Bill Nye - How Stuff Works - Solar Energy