Explaining Solar Energy Production

How Does it Work?

Read about the basics of solar production, straight from the Solar Negotiators team. Learn about how your solar system will work, as we break down the process step-by-step.

1. Sun Provides Solar Production

Solar panels are comprised of photovoltaic cells, meaning they convert sunlight into energy which can be used to power your home. The sun’s rays provide  photons of light that hit these solar cells on your system, knocking electrons loose from their atoms. If conductors are attached to the positive and negative sides of a cell, it forms an electrical circuit. When electrons flow through such a circuit, they generate electricity. Multiple cells make up a solar panel, and multiple panels (modules) can be wired together to form a solar array. The more panels you have on your roof, the more energy you can expect to generate. Martin DeBono, What is Solar Energy and How Does it Work? (www.sunpower.com)

2. Power is Sent to Inverter

Solar power inverters play an equally important role in a solar system: they convert the electricity your solar panels create into a form that can be used by the appliances, lighting, and other electronics that are in your home.

Most homes use alternating current (AC) energy, not DC, so the energy produced by your solar panels isn’t useful on its own. When your solar panels collect sunlight and turn it into energy, it gets sent to the inverter, which takes the DC energy and turns it into AC energy. At that point, your solar electricity can power your appliances and electronics or, if you’re producing more electricity than you need, it can feed back into the grid. Luke Richardson, How Do Solar Inverters Work (www.energysage.com).

3. Solar Battery Storage

Solar systems generate electricity whenever the sun is shining, often making more than a home needs during peak seasons. That excess energy is usually sent to the grid, and the homeowner usually receives a credit from their utility that can offset the electricity used at night.

While the grid still plays a supporting role, more homeowners are requesting solar-plus-storage so they can have more control over their electricity use. Solar storage batteries work by taking that excess electricity and storing it. The stored solar energy can be used to complement power from the grid at night or to power essential appliances during a power outage. Martin DeBono, What is Solar Energy and How Does it Work? (www.sunpower.com)

4. AC Electricity Powers Home

Your solar inverter converts the DC electricity produced by your solar array into AC electricity, which is suitable for household consumption. Your inverter should be installed as close as possible to your electricity meter in order to avoid power losses, although having it stored in a cool place like a garage should be your highest priority.

Most systems sold in the U.S. are connected to the electricity grid and therefore require a ‘grid feed’ (or ‘grid tie’) inverter. In a grid feed system, electricity produced by your solar system will supply your home and its appliances first, and only feed electricity into the grid if there is any surplus electricity. Likewise, if your solar system does not produce enough electricity to power your home, any excess electricity will be drawn from the grid. Martin DeBono, What is Solar Energy and How Does it Work? (www.sunpower.com)

5. Excess Production Sent to Grid

Any unused or surplus solar electricity will be exported to the grid. To do this, your inverter must continually monitor the grid, adjusting your solar electricity to mirror any fluctuations, in order to allow any excess solar electricity to seamlessly flow from your solar PV system to the grid.

If the grid goes dead or varies from standard specifications, your inverter will automatically shut itself off, unless you have a battery backup which has been configured in a specific set up.

Your solar PV system will automatically shut itself off if the grid goes down because it may try to send power back into the grid. Anyone performing electric work or upgrades on the grid (which is expected to be off) may be electrocuted and seriously injured by the electricity you’re feeding back into the grid. When the power cut is over, your inverter will either automatically switch back on, or require a manual start. Martin DeBono, What is Solar Energy and How Does it Work? (www.sunpower.com)

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Our Mission

It is our mission at Solar Negotiators to help our clients find the most effective, cost-saving solar systems to meet their needs.

Our team has a firm belief in honesty and integrity when dealing with our customers, suppliers, employees, and community partners. We bring our premier network of local service providers together with our clients to provide the best overall solar solutions.

General Questions

What is your pricing vs your competitors?

The pricing & included services in the agreements our consultants can offer through our network is typically more robust and competitive than the rest of the market.

This is primarily due to the strength and quality of our business model. Our network contractors offer discounted labor rates in return for providing them with a steady stream of projects they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

Do You Offer Leases or Purchases?

Solar Negotiators recommends solar purchases to all our clients. Purchasing can sometimes be overlooked because people are under the impression that you must have cash on hand to invest. Similar to leasing, there are options that include no out-of-pocket cost.

The great thing about financing your solar project is that it is under your terms. Our sales consultants work with you to build custom financial plans. This way, you can pay off your system as soon as you’re able, while keeping your monthly payments lower than your current energy bill. Because your monthly costs will be reduced, these $0 money down options mean instant savings.

How long have you been in business?

In 2009, Chris Moran founded a small company in his garage as an honest business to help consumers get the facts on solar systems in California. Ten years later, Solar Negotiators is now the largest local solar provider in the Central Valley.

It is our mission at Solar Negotiators to help our clients find the most effective, cost-saving solar systems to meet their needs. Our team has a firm belief in honesty and integrity when dealing with our customers, suppliers, employees, and community partners. We bring our premier network of local service providers together with our clients to provide the best overall solar solutions.