In the relentless pursuit of cost-efficient, clean, and sustainable sources of energy, nothing has as much potential as the sun. Our sun is, in essence, a massive nuclear reactor that releases enough energy-packed photons every hour to, at least in theory, satisfy global energy needs for an entire year. That's a lot of energy. The challenge is to figure out how to harness that energy efficiently and effectively. The good news is that solar experts across the globe are developing rapidly improving technologies that are making a solar-powered world look more and more possible.

Solar Panels

With solar power on the rise, you may be considering moving your home or business to solar power. You likely have a number of questions about converting to solar. In addition to the obvious questions about equipment, finances, and logistics, you may also be wondering about the system itself. How does solar work? What are the different components of a system, and what do they do? Solar panels make sense, but what in the world is an inverter? The following is a brief overview of solar power systems to get you started.

How Does Solar Power Work?

Solar power generates electricity using photons released from the sun. Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels contain multiple solar cells, which are basically mini-conductors. Each cell has a positive and negative side that, together, create an electric field. When photons hit a solar cell, electrons are knocked loose from the atoms, and they flow in one direction around the circuit. This one-way current is called direct current, or DC. Each solar panel has multiple solar cells, and multiple panels can be wired together to form an array. The more cells and panels you have, the more energy you can collect and deploy. With unlimited solar cells, you can create unlimited DC electricity.

However, the US power grid and most commercial appliances were made to run on alternating current, or AC. With AC electricity, the loose electrons don't just flow in one direction -- they periodically reverse direction when pushed or pulled by some form of energy. For solar power to be useful in providing electricity to run our homes, businesses, and cities, the DC power must be converted to AC power. This is why it's important that all households planning to install solar panels also plan to buy solar inverters.

Solar Beach House

How Important is a Solar Inverter?

The solar inverter is a critical component of your solar power system. It takes all the DC power generated by the solar panels and inverts it to AC electricity that can be used to power anything you have that needs electricity. Without an inverter, the power collected by solar panels has nowhere to go. More than that, though, the inverter is also the brains of a solar energy system; it provides ground fault protection and stats about overall performance. If there's a problem with your system or even one specific panel, chances are, your inverter will detect it. Inverters also play a huge role in the efficiency of a solar system. When energy moves from solar cells to your home or business, some energy is inevitably lost. An efficient inverter minimizes these losses; the more efficient your inverter, the fewer cells are required to generate the power you need, reducing the overall cost of the entire system.

The PowerStore is here to answer all your solar inverter questions. Call us today!