According to Pew Research, 46% of U.S. homeowners have considered installing solar panels in their homes. You may be among this number but have not made a final decision for one reason or another. Perhaps you’re hesitating because you don’t fully understand how solar panels work and, thus, don’t trust them.
This article can give you a simple explanation of how solar energy works. Read on if you want to learn this and, thus, trust solar energy enough to install solar panels on your home.
Thermal Solar Energy Explained
As any solar energy guide will tell you, there are two main processes by which a solar system can generate electricity. One of these is the thermal process. A solar thermal system will use the heat that sunlight produces to generate electricity.
How is this done? It is similar to the way in which many other power generation mechanisms work. The end goal of a solar thermal system, along with a coal-powered system, geothermal system, and more, is to facilitate the turning of a turbine.
All solar thermal systems must include some form of liquid. This is usually a molten salt mixture that is a mixture of 40 percent potassium nitrate and 60 percent sodium nitrate. It is perfect for this system because of this liquid’s ability to transfer and store heat.
After the molten salt gets heated, it produces steam. This then powers the steam-powered turbine. As this machine runs, it produces electricity.
Photovoltaic Solar Energy Explained
The next solar energy generation process, as any list of solar energy tips will tell you, is the photovoltaic method. It differs from the thermal method as it uses the energy of light rather than the energy of heat. Specifically, this method can capture electrons from light photons and then change them into electricity.
This is done with the materials that comprise a photovoltaic solar panel. Each one is like a sandwich of these materials. Silicon is often in the middle, phosphorus is often on one side, and boron is on the other.
The phosphorus provides a negative electric charge, and the boron provides a positive charge. The energy field that this creates pushes electrons towards the metal plates beyond the phosphorous and boron layers. The plates then capture the electrons.
Afterward, the system transfers the energy to an inverter. This device turns the direct current into the more commonly used alternating current. With this energy, you can save money on electricity fees (get a savings estimate here).
How Can Solar Energy Be Used to Produce Electricity?
Remember that this is only a basic explanation of how these solar systems generate energy. There’s a lot more that you can learn through articles that answer the question ‘what is solar energy’. You can do so if you want to trust your solar system fully.
In addition, you can learn more about how to create a perfect solar system and how to operate it.
You can also learn more from the other articles on our site. After you finish reading this article, search our site for a ton more useful information. You’ll find pieces about finance, technology, and more.