How Does Solar Rays Turn Into Electricity Through Solar Panels?

Solar rays turn into electricity with solar panelsLet us take a closer look at solar panels and how solar panels convert the light that they receive into electricity.

Solar energy is one of the biggest revolutionary steps forward in the electrical industry, and there’s a good reason for it. Solar energy can save money for everyone along with helping the environment.

Why is solar energy so great, you might ask?

The main reason as to why solar energy is fantastic is due to how the electricity, which is being produced is being taken directly from a natural source: THE SUN. Now, as fascinating as solar power is, today we are going to be focusing on one specific aspect of solar energy. How it works. So, let us first take a look at the basics.

The Basic Solar Power System

Before we get deep into how solar rays can turn sun light into electricity, we are going to look at the basic steps which go on inside of a solar energy system.

Once the sun rays have hit the solar panel, Photovoltaic (PV) cells take the sunlight and convert it to direct current (DC) electricity. This electricity is then put through an inverter where it is converted to alternating current (AC) electricity.

With this AC electricity, the installed electrical panel uses it to power appliances around your home or commercial property and you are able to see just how much electricity is being generated and used with your utility meter.

This process gives you a rough understanding of how solar panels take electricity and provide power to your home, and while that is great, getting deeper into things will give you a better understanding.

The Sunlight to Energy Conversion

In the previous paragraph we took a look at the basics, although the basics don’t look at how sunlight is converted to energy. Now, we all know that once the sunlight hits the solar panels, the solar panels produces energy for your home.

But How?

After sunlight has hit the PV solar cells, the silicon semi-conductors inside of the panel trigger the flow of electrons within the panel. This flow of electrons is what causes the creation of electricity and more importantly, is what supplies your home with electricity.

Newtons cradle animation

By DemonDeLuxe (Dominique Toussaint)

A cool way of thinking about how these electrons flow is to imagine a newton’s cradle. As one ball hits the next, energy is passed through from the first ball to the next, to the next, until finally the last ball is hit and receives all of the energy to which the ball rises and falls. As it falls, the energy is transferred back to the previous ball and the process begins once again.

In the same way, as the sunlight hits the PV solar cells, the electron flow is triggered thus causing the electrons to begin moving around. As these electrons hit off of one another, electricity is being produced and the energy which each electron has is transferred. This electricity is then taken into your solar energy system and into your home.

Solar Power Generating Systems

The last point of discussion in this article is the types of solar power generating systems which are available. At the moment, there are two different types of solar power energy systems available:

Grid-Connected Systems

You will find that grid-connected systems are commonly used for residential properties and public properties (e.g. public services and school buildings), as well as commercial properties. These systems are the most well-known type of system. Energy is generated throughout the day and if a lack of electricity becomes an issue, it will be taken from the utility company and you will be billed. If on the other hand your system generates more electricity than you will use, then it will be sold to your utility company and they will pay you.

Stand-Alone Systems

These systems aren’t as common as grid-connected systems and are more commonly used when a grid-connected system isn’t a viable option. With this system, a battery is needed in order to save energy for days at a time so that when there are days without sunshine, energy is still available from the batteries.


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