Solar Energy 101 – Solar radiation is light – also known as electromagnetic radiation – that is emitted by the sun. While every location on Earth receives some sunlight over a year, the amount of solar radiation that reaches any one spot on the Earth’s surface varies.
Solar technologies capture this radiation and turn it into useful forms of energy. There are two main types of solar energy technologies—photovoltaics (PV) and concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP). You’re likely most familiar with PV, which is utilized in solar panels. When the sun shines onto a solar panel, energy from the sunlight is absorbed by the PV cells in the panel.
This energy creates electrical charges that move in response to an internal electrical field in the cell, causing electricity to flow. Concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) systems use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect solar energy and convert it to heat, which can then be used to produce electricity or stored for later use.
- It is used primarily in very large power plants.
- Solar energy technology doesn’t end with electricity generation by PV or CSP systems.
- These solar energy systems must be integrated into homes, businesses, and existing electrical grids with varying mixtures of traditional and other renewable energy sources.
A number of non-hardware costs, known as soft costs, also impact the cost of solar energy. These costs include permitting, financing, and installing solar, as well as the expenses solar companies incur to acquire new customers, pay suppliers, and cover their bottom line.
For rooftop solar energy systems, soft costs represent the largest share of total costs. Solar energy can help to reduce the cost of electricity, contribute to a resilient electrical grid, create jobs and spur economic growth, generate back-up power for nighttime and outages when paired with storage, and operate at similar efficiency on both small and large scales.
Solar energy systems come in all shapes and sizes. Residential systems are found on rooftops across the United States, and businesses are also opting to install solar panels. Utilities, too, are building large solar power plants to provide energy to all customers connected to the grid.
How does solar power work inside?
How a Solar Panel Works – Solar panels are pretty simple, really! Essentially what happens is that solar panels record the sun’s energy and then work to convert that energy into power for your home. After sunlight hits solar panels, it’s captured within photovoltaic cells and transported to an inverter where it’s converted from direct current DC electricity to usable AC electricity.
From there, the electricity is ready to be used by you and your home or is sent out to the grid to be used by your neighbors. In some other cases, the power might be stored in battery banks such as the Tesla Powerwall, Whether you choose to use a battery bank or not is completely up to you and often is determined by what you can afford.
At Sun Badger, we encourage every customer that’s installing solar panels to consider also installing a solar battery bank. While the battery bank won’t allow you to completely separate yourself from the grid, it will limit your dependency on the grid.
Do solar panels charge inside?
Solar panels and chargers do work indoors. They will still produce power through a window even if there is no sun, although a reduced amount. Powering from a light bulb or several light bulbs does not need the sun at all.