With summer on the horizon, many local homeowners are wondering how to combat rising electricity costs while keeping their homes at a comfortable temperature. One popular option is installing a solar panel system to power your home with sunlight. But, how do solar panels work in Charlotte, NC? 

Our team here at SHS Pros is here to help. Continue reading to learn more about the mechanics behind solar power or contact us now to start your solar installation in Charlotte, NC. 

How Do Solar Panels Work in Charlotte, NC?

Having a basic understanding of how solar panels work can help you feel more prepared for what to expect when you start using solar energy to power your home. Here’s a closer look at how solar panels turn sunlight into energy. 

1. The Sun Activates the Solar Panels

Your solar panels are made up of the following:

  • A metal frame
  • Silicon cells
  • Wiring
  • A special film
  • Glass casing

Once installed, these photovoltaic cells absorb sunlight during the day, which activates the panels. 

2. The Cells Produce an Electrical Current

Each solar cell in your panels is made up of two layers of silicon. One layer has a positive charge, while the other layer has a negative charge. When sunlight hits the panels, it energizes the photovoltaic cell, setting electrons into motion. This creates an electrical current in your cells. 

3. The Electricity Is Converted

This electricity that’s been created is direct current (DC) electricity. However, you need alternating current (AC) electricity to power your home. Once the DC electricity is generated, it will flow through the conductive wire into the inverter within your solar panel. The inverter converts the DC electricity to AC electricity so your home can actually use it. 

4. The Electricity Is Distributed Throughout Your Home

As soon as the conversion is complete, the AC electricity runs through your electrical panel and is distributed throughout your home to power your electronics, appliances, lights, and more. This distribution of electricity works exactly the same as it does when you receive electricity from your local utility, so there’s nothing you need to change within your home to receive the electricity generated by your solar panels

5. A Meter Measures How Much Energy Is Created

When you receive electricity from your utility, you have a meter to calculate your usage. Solar panels use a similar measuring system. The meter will calculate how much electricity your solar panels are generating, including any excess energy your panels produce, which is sent back to the power grid. In most cases, your electric utility will provide you a credit for the surplus energy you create. 

So, how much electricity can you expect your panels to create? It varies based on your system, but generally speaking, a 1 Kilowatt solar panel system can produce between 750 and 850 Kilowatt hours (kWh) each year. 

What about battery backup?

If you are installing solar,, it’s important to consider backup power options in case of a blackout. Luckily, with a solar system and battery backup, you can keep your lights on even during power outages.

Here are a few key points on how a battery works with a solar system to provide backup power:

  • During normal operation, your solar panels generate electricity and send it to your home’s electrical system. If you generate more electricity than you need, the excess is sent back to the grid.
  • When there is a blackout, your solar panels will automatically shut off to protect utility workers repairing power lines. However, if you have a battery backup system, it will kick in to provide power to your home.
  • The battery backup system stores excess electricity generated by your solar panels during the day, so you can use it at night or during a blackout.
  • The battery backup system also monitors your home’s energy usage and automatically switches to battery power when there is an outage, providing uninterrupted power to essential appliances such as refrigerators and medical equipment.
  • With a solar system and battery backup, you can enjoy the benefits of clean energy while also having peace of mind knowing that you have a reliable backup power source.

How Do I Know If My Solar Panels Are Working?

Are you worried that your solar panels won’t actually work after they’re installed? Good news! There are a few ways you can check to make sure they’re generating energy based on your household energy needs.

  • Look at your solar panels: If you see dirt or leaves covering your panels, they may not be working. Hire a professional to clean them for you to increase performance. In the Charlotte area, solar panels rarely need to be cleaned because of the regular rain we get.  For the most part, solar panel maintenance is minimal. 
  • Look at the system data: Our solar panel systems come with an online account, where you can see the output from your system. If it’s not producing as much as it should, don’t hesitate to contact us. 

Schedule Your Solar Panel Installation Today

Now that you know how to answer the question, “How do solar panels work in Charlotte, NC?” you can move forward with your project with confidence. When you’re ready to get started, please call us at 704-610-1969 or contact us online.