How Are Solar Panels Designed? (Step by Step Process)

November 1, 2022

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Are you curious about the solar panel design process? Understanding how manufacturers create solar panels and how they work can help you better understand their value. Also, knowing more about solar arrays can help you keep them functioning effectively after installation.

While solar power collection and inversion might sound complicated, it’s quite simple. In fact, solar panels have no moving parts or complicated machinery! Check out some basics of residential solar panels and how they work. Then, discuss your property’s power needs with a solar panel installation contractor near you.

How Do Solar Panels Work & How Are They Made?

To create solar panels, manufacturers start with silicon, melted down, and then mixed with gasses to create wafers. Manufacturers add phosphorus, which creates the ability to conduct electricity. Next, manufacturers cut the silicon into thin wafers and apply an anti-reflective coating to trap sunlight rather than deflect it.

Lastly, a manufacturer cuts thin lines through these wafers, creating solar cells. These lines allow electricity to flow through the cells. To create solar power, these wafers absorb sunlight photons, which knock electrons loose from atoms. Those electrons then move along cell wiring, creating an electrical flow.

This electrical flow runs with direct current or DC power. Direct current power only runs in one direction. However, most household appliances and other electronics use alternating current or AC power. Alternating current changes direction periodically, rather than running in only one direction.

To make solar power usable, your installer typically connects them to an inverter. This inverter takes electricity created by the panels and pushes it through a transformer. The transformer pushes the DC current back and forth rapidly, which changes it to AC current. In turn, you then have usable power for your residence or business!

How Do Solar Panels Work at Night?

Solar panels work by absorbing sunlight, as said. Consequently, you might wonder how they work at night. More to the point, many question if having solar panels means you won’t have electricity once the sun goes down!

First, note that an installer can connect solar panels to batteries or storage packs. Second, consider that most properties remain connected to a local power grid even after solar installation! In turn, you shouldn’t lose power after sunset with solar panels.

With this in mind, you might wonder which is the better option for your property. One consideration is that solar batteries add to your installation cost and take up lots of space! Two, some areas require property owners to stay connected to a utility company even with solar panels.

Consequently, property owners often forego solar batteries or storage packs altogether. Some might keep a few, just for backup power in case of storms or other outages. Those batteries can then work like generators, but without having to fill them with gas or other fuels.

Lastly, you might wonder how solar power works if you’re still connected to a local utility company. Most properties work with net metering, or credit for solar power produced. In simpler terms, your property uses electricity from a local utility company. The property’s meter keeps track of that usage.

Next, as panels produce solar power, wiring sends that power to the same utility company. The company then credits you for that power. Consequently, you’re not disconnected from a regular power source but lower your utility costs with solar panels.

How Do You Create a Solar Plan?

Property owners don’t need to create their own solar panel design. Instead, leave this job to the professionals! Experienced solar installation contractors ensure quality designs that offer the power needed. Also, an experienced contractor ensures a damage-free installation.

To create a solar plan, contractors will usually start by checking your energy usage and needs. This information tells them how many panels your property needs to supply that power. Next, they will inspect your property and note if it can manage those panels. This inspection usually includes checking the roof’s condition to ensure it can support a solar racking system.

Once you and your installer decide on your panels, he or she will typically order them from a manufacturer. Ordering panels ensure they’re in good condition and work effectively upon installation. Your installer should also pull the permits needed for the installation and contact your local utility company as needed.

Lastly, the installer should make an appointment for the installation and connection. This process includes testing the panels to ensure they’re operating and answering your final questions. In some cases, they might have your utility company perform a final inspection as well.

How Long Do Solar Panels Really Last?

Most solar panels last between 20 and 30 years. However, this doesn’t mean that they simply stop working after this time! Solar panels have a degradation rate of 0.5% to 1% per year. What does this mean?

Simply put, solar panel wear and tear cause them to lose effectiveness at that rate. In turn, 20-year-old solar panels might be working at 90% or even just 80% efficiency. A 30-year-old panel might produce only 70% of the power it did when new! As a result, many property owners replace their panels after this time.

Additionally, property owners can extend that lifespan by keeping panels clean and clear. Sweeping away debris reduces wear and tear on the panels while allowing them to work more effectively. Also, ensure you trim away tree branches that might scrape at those panels.

Above all, regular inspections ensure panels are in good condition, connected properly, and working effectively. A solar inspection professional might spot worn wiring or other damage needing repair. Scheduling timely fixes keeps those panels working as they should for as long as possible.

Go Solar MA is happy to provide this information about solar panel design to our readers. Hopefully, you found it helpful and useful! If you’re curious about solar, call our Massachusetts solar panel installation contractors. We’ll schedule a FREE consultation and price quote. We’re also happy to answer all your solar installation questions. To get your property started, use our contact form or just give us a call.

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