How Do Solar Panels Work?
A basic rooftop solar panel system has 4 basic components: solar panels, inverter, AC disconnect, and production meter.
Solar Panels (Modules)
Solar panels, made of multiple solar cells, are the most visible part of your rooftop solar system. These cells collect light from the sun and convert it into electrical energy. Solar irradiation stimulates electrons in the solar cells, thus generating electricity. However, overheating caused by the sunlight can be damaging for solar panels, and they should be able to withstand the heat to last longer.
The solar panels produce Direct Current (DC), whereas your home runs on Alternative Current (AC) power. The inverter’s job is to make the electricity generated by solar panels into usable 240V AC electrical energy. Once converted, you can use this energy to run your regular home appliances. An inverter works non-stop during the entirety of your solar energy system. Hence, always go for a high-quality inverter that can be easily repaired.
An AC disconnect is an electrical switch that allows you to cut off the DC power output from the solar panels and array. It is useful when the solar system needs repairs or even during regular maintenance. The disconnect switch must be strong enough to handle the full power output from the panels on a bright sunny day. The AC disconnect can best be thought of as an extra gate for safety.
The production meter’s purpose is to monitor how much electricity your solar system harvested throughout the day. Solar production depends on solar panel designs, weather, sun exposure, and your house location. The meter can help you attain maximum productivity from your solar panels while saving money on your electricity expenditure.