Solar power is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of home ownership in the 21st century.
With power bills rising, the cost-of-living crisis and global warming presenting themselves as a looming threat, homeowners are looking for ways to solve or ease these issues.
Before investing in solar power, you may wonder, ‘How does solar power work in a home?’ – a very valid question for those looking to invest.
In today’s article, we’ll go into detail about solar power for domestic use.
Read on to find out more about solar technology.
Table of Contents
What Is Solar Power?
Solar power in the context of home ownership is a way homeowners can generate electricity from sunlight for use in their homes.
The technology behind solar power has been around for quite some time and broke into the commercial market for the average homeowner in the early 2000s, with landmark technological developments happening in the solar tech research industry during the 1980s and 1990s.
Solar power uses the photovoltaic effect, a phenomenon first observed in 1839, through which DC electricity can be generated with direct sunlight.
A solar or photovoltaic cell is a technological component that captures sunlight and generates electricity. It functions through the excitement of atoms in semiconductive materials by photons (light) to release energy from stimulated electrons as electrical energy. This electrical energy is what we harness for power.
What Is A Solar Panel?
A solar panel is a technological device that can be used to generate large amounts of electricity for use in the home. A solar panel consists of various solar modules linked in sequence, and each solar module is created from solar cells.
Solar panels can come in different types and sizes, impacting their efficiency. The higher the efficiency rating, the more sunlight the panel can convert into DC electricity.
What Is A Solar Array?
A solar array is a collection of solar panels connected in sequence to create an array that can power large structures, such as a home. These arrays are usually mounted to the home’s roof to allow for optimal light capture from the sun.
That being said, solar arrays can also be mounted on the ground if you have a large enough space and if there is a lack of objects to cause solar shading.
What Is AC and DC Electricity?
AC and DC electricitystand for:
- Alternating Current
- Direct Current
Both are types of electrical energy. Our homes require AC electricity to power our appliances or electrical circuits. As only DC electricity can be captured from sunlight, the captured DC electricity needs to be converted to AC electricity before it’s used in the home.
What Is A Solar Power System?
A solar power system for the home includes solar panels on the roof or in a garden and all the solar tech you’ll need to harness power from sunlight.
A typical solar system will include the following:
- A way to capture sunlight for the generation of electricity (usually solar panels)
- A converter for converting DC electricity to AC electricity
- A battery or capacitor to store electrical energy
- A Voltage or Solar optimiser (for optimal generation efficiency)
What your home will need will depend upon how big your solar power system will be, how often you intend to use it, and the space you have for a solar power installation.
What Do I Need To Consider For A Solar Power Setup?
When investing in a solar power setup, you’ll need to consider several factors. Firstly, consider the following:
- Do you have the necessary rights to install solar panels on the roof? Is it a shared roof?
- How many panels will you need? You can consult with solar tech professionals about this, which will determine how you intend to use the panels.
- Do you intend to switch entirely to solar power or only use solar power to reduce bills?
- Is your roof suitable for panel installation? Would solar tiles be a better option? Will solar shading be an issue?
- Do you have enough budget to realise the project?
This is a partial list of factors but a good starting point.
What Solar Tech Is Available?
Currently, most solar setups will use solar panels mounted on racks, and these racks will then be fixed to your roof and angled for optimal sunlight capture. However, another solar tech, such as solar tiles, may be a better fit for your needs.
Solar tiles are roofing tiles that function like normal tiles and generate electricity. They replace your regular roof tiles.
Other options, such as solar glass for windows, are being explored for commercial viability but aren’t available yet.
Solar power is important for ecological and financial reasons, providing a cheaper, greener way to power your home.
We hope this article answered the burning question ‘how does solar power work in a home’.
If interested, consulting with an expert before purchasing is highly recommended.
What solar system will you invest in?