solar energy

Solar energy, how does it work?


The sun radiates endless solar energy to the earth. As soon as these sun rays ‘land’ somewhere, this energy can be converted into electricity. Solar panels capture the sun’s rays and convert them into direct currents through the so-called photovoltaic effect. 

You cannot make your electrical appliances in the housework yet with direct current, so this direct current still has to go to the inverter. We explain step-by-step how it works.

1.Solar energy: The sun as an energy source

It goes without saying that the sun is needed to generate solar energy. But even if the sun does not shine directly on the panels, for example through a group of clouds, the sun still provides enough energy to generate electricity. About 60% of your yield even comes from indirect sunlight. 

Of course, the more direct sunlight, the more power generation. Roofs are often seen as a suitable place for solar panels because they are high and therefore less often in the shade.

2.Solar energy: Suitable roof

To convert solar energy into the electricity we need at home, a solar power system is needed. This system consists of at least solar panels, an inverter, and a connection in the meter box. The solar panels must be on suitable roofing down. There are a number of factors that determine whether or not a roof is suitable for the installation of solar panels. 

The most important factor is the amount of sunlight that falls on it. If a sloping roof faces north, the sun may not shine on it enough times of the day. If the roof is partly in the shadow of another building, this also has an influence on the amount of electricity that can be generated. In addition, the size of the roof is also an important factor. If there is not enough space for solar panels, the efficiency may be too low for the purchase of a solar power system. To find out whether your roof is suitable for solar energy, below the roof check.

3. Solar panels

Solar panels are panels that consist of several solar cells. These solar cells are made of silicon, which ensures that sunlight (photo) is converted into current (electricity). Because solar cells can easily be damaged, they are connected to each other in a solar panel, after which they are protected by a frame and a layer of glass. 

There are roughly 3types of solar panels distinguish monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and thin-film solar panels. The way in which the cells are produced determines which type of solar panel is created. Self-power only offers monocrystalline solar panels, because they provide the highest yield.

4.Solar energy: Optimizers

Depending on the way and where the solar panels are placed, optimizers for up to 25% more efficiency. If a number of solar panels are placed in the shade for part of the day, this can have a negative impact on the other panels. The optimizers ensure that the solar panels that are in the sun continue to perform optimally. The advantage of optimizers is that you don’t have to take shadowing into account as much because it simply has a less negative influence on the return.

5.Solar energy: An inverter

If the solar panels have converted the sunlight into electricity, it is not yet suitable for supplying your electrical appliances with power. The solar panels convert the light into a direct current. Direct current flows from the solar panels to the converter, after which alternating current is forwarded to the meter box. With this alternating current, you can watch TV, make coffee and charge your phone.

6.Solar energy: Connection in the meter cupboard

The connection in the meter box ensures that the alternating current that comes from the solar panels is distributed over the electrical appliances in your house. If the sun shines a lot, you may use less energy than you generate. The power you then have left is sent back to the public electricity grid via the meter box. 

The electricity you send back to the grid is deducted from your meter reading and therefore from your monthly bill. That’s what we call ‘net’. If you generate less than you consume, your meter box will supplement it with electricity from the grid.

Solar energy for everyone

Solar panels are a good investment for both your own wallet and for the environment. This allows you to save on your energy bill by using solar energy, but you do not suddenly have to invest a large part of your savings account. In fact, renting solar panels is in most cases cheaper than when you conclude a traditional electricity contract with an energy company.

Another article on this blog that may interest you:

Solar Panels: How Does It Work?