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How Do Solar Panels Work?

October 30, 2018

You’ve probably heard solar described as the “energy of the future.” That may make you think of all sorts of complicated technology that you might see in a science fiction movie, but in truth, the ideas behind solar panels have been around for a long time. Solar panels are not as complicated as they may seem, but Greenleaf Solar wants you to know that solar is still the energy of the future. That’s because it makes more and more sense to install solar panels to save money and to be kind to our planet.

Long Island’s Premier Solar Panel Company

If you live on Long Island, you know that being a homeowner comes with a cost. Greenleaf helps homeowners save on their energy bill by installing money-saving solar panels. When you come to Greenleaf, we’ll take you through every step of the process, from telling you what rebates may be available for solar purchasers to the benefits of purchasing solar over leasing. We’ll explain how you can get credited for power that isn’t used, which can even lead to having no power bill. Greenleaf wants you to understand everything you can about solar power, so we want to tell you a bit about how solar panels work.

The History of Solar Panels

Solar panels are an idea that’s been around for more than a century, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. The idea literally began with a spark, when French Scientist Edmond Becquerel discovered that certain materials give off electrical sparks when exposed to sunlight. This is called the photoelectric effect and scientists soon learned it could be harnessed as the first photovoltaic (PV) cells were created in the late 19th century. The electricity is sparked because the light knocks electrons from atoms, generating a flow of electricity. A big advance came in the 1950s when Bell Labs produced silicon PV cells that were capable of converting four percent of the energy in sunlight into electricity.

How Modern Solar Panels Operate

According to the Website LiveScience, modern solar panels are comprised of many smaller units, each of which are made up of PV cells. The PV cells are layered and they’re basically made up like a sandwich, consisting of two layers of a semiconducting material, usually silicone, surrounding an electric field, according to the PBS Nova site, which operates similarly to a magnetic field. With magnets, opposite poles attract. Positive and negative charges attract in an electric field. A photon of sunlight will knock electrons free and other components of the cell will turn them into usable power. According to LiveScience, metal conductive plates collect the electrons and transfer them to wires. This allows them to flow the same way the electricity in your home does, so the process of sunlight transforming into something that can run your refrigerator is complete.

Let Greenleaf Help You Join the Solar Revolution

The science behind solar panels is simple, but the results are revolutionary. Your system will produce energy for your home without leaving a carbon footprint. You’ll save money and help save the planet. To learn more, contact us today.