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Today we are going to discuss the basics of how solar panels work, and show how energy from the sun is converted to electricity to power your home.  

At the most fundamental level, our sun releases photons to the earth, which can be captured and converted into usable electricity by photovoltaic (PV) cells.  This discovery was first made back in 1839 by a French physicist, Edmund Bequerel.  Practical use of this knowledge did not come to play until the 1960’s when the space industry decided to power spacecraft with this technology.  Since then, the technology advanced, and today we have very efficient PV panels that can be used in almost every aspect of life that requires electricity.

Photo credit – Cosmos Magazine

When photons from the sun hit solar panels, it is in the form of direct current (DC) electricity.  Solar panels are made up of negative and positive layer to create a battery-like semiconductor.  A solar inverter converts this electricity into alternating current (AC) which is the standard for electricity in the U.S.  You can then power your home with clean and efficient electricity!