What Is Solar Energy, and How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar energy will play an increasingly important role as we turn toward greener ways to produce energy. Living in a sunny state means you’re in the perfect location to take advantage of the sun’s plentiful rays.

The only question left is: What is solar energy, and what are the benefits of investing in it? Let’s take a closer look at how solar energy works.

What is solar energy?

Solar energy is captured from the sun’s rays. Over 173,000 terawatts of energy strike the Earth at any given time, which is about 10,000 times more than our entire planet’s energy needs. Using solar panels, energy is gathered when the sun hits the panels. It’s then converted into electricity, which can be used to power your home, business and more.

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels are filled with photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into energy. The sun releases photons, or particles of light, which travel toward Earth. (The entire journey takes less than nine minutes.) The photons knock electrons away from atoms, which creates electricity. The electricity is then either used to power your building, reserved for later use or sent back to the electric company for credits on your bill.

How weather affects solar energy

Generally, the best weather for solar power are clear, sunny days. Cloud cover can interfere with photons reaching your solar panels; however, cold, sunny days are actually better for solar power, since they’re more efficient in cooler weather. They can produce more electricity in a shorter amount of time. That’s good news, since the days are often shorter when the weather is cooler.

Solar panels can still produce electricity even on cloudy days, since solar radiation penetrates through clouds (it’s why doctors tell you to wear sunscreen even when it’s cloudy). The electricity production is usually 10 to 25 percent lower on a cloudy day, but you’ll still get power.

Benefits of solar energy

Using solar energy is an environmentally-friendly way to produce electricity. As our government looks for ways to end our reliance on fossil fuels, solar energy is going to become more popular. It’s also becoming more affordable—as research and innovations improve, the price has been dropping.

If you’ve noticed that your utility bills are increasing every month, it might be time to invest in solar panels. Depending on your home’s location, this could dramatically reduce (or even eliminate) your power bills each month. If you live in a sunny state, then you’re in the perfect spot to take advantage of this green energy source—and there are both federal and state tax incentives to get you going.

If you’re thinking about making the switch to solar, be sure to get in touch with the team at Mohave Solar. We pride ourselves on designing and installing solar energy systems for any size home or office. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help or to get a quote for your home. We look forward to working with you soon!