How Solar Power Works
It all starts with the sun, that glorious power plant in the sky, 92.96 million miles from Earth. The amount of energy the sun shines on Earth in just 40 minutes is equivalent to the annual energy consumption of the entire population of the planet. And it’s free. So how do we make the sun work for us? It’s actually pretty easy. We use silicon crystals and certain metals to turn the sun’s light into electricity, also known as photovoltaics, or PV for short. These crystals send the energy to a solar inverter, which in turn makes them a usable form of electricity—alternating current, or AC for short. When you’re not using electricity, like during the daytime, the system sends excess power out to the grid for everyone to use, which you get credit for. When you start using your electricity again, like at nighttime, it’s there waiting for you. So, if your energy production is greater than your energy consumption, you’ll get credited for the extra power you didn’t use. Woohoo!
The Ultimate Sun Bathers
Solar panels—the big black panels that absorb sunlight—are made of silicon cells, which, when hit by sunlight, convert light into electricity rather than heat. This electricity is sent to the solar inverter, which makes the energy usable in your home.
From Raw Power to Clean Electricity
The solar inverter is the electrical box that turns direct current, or DC, electricity produced by solar panels into alternating current, or AC, electricity.
Keep an Eye on Things
The solar meter monitors the electricity your system produces, making sure everything is running smoothly. With Restart Solar, you can access your system’s performance from your computer, tablet or mobile device.
Get It Back
Do you know your meter can actually run backwards? When you produce a surplus of electricity, you receive credit from your utility. This credit is called net metering, and it is a wonderful thing.
The network of power lines that crisscrosses your neighborhood and virtually everywhere you go is The Grid. Restart Solar systems are connected to the grid, or grid-tied, so the power you produce gets shared, but it’s always there for you if you need it.
The Power Suppliers
The utility company is in charge of the grid and supplying their customers with power. Although most utility providers offer you credit when you produce a surplus of power, it’s best to check with them about their net metering or solar bank program.