How Does It Work?
There is energy contained in the sun’s light. When sunlight strikes an object on earth, the energy is usually recognized
as heat. It warms water, melts ice cream, and makes your car hot inside on a summer afternoon. Sunlight is converted to electricity when photons (particles of sunlight) strike the silicon crystals in solar panels that are designed to capture the sun’s light. The photons strip electrons from the silicon atoms in the silicon layer of the panel. This creates a photovoltaic “PV” charge that generates a direct or “DC” electric current.
A device called an “inverter” converts the DC current into alternating current or “AC” power. This is the type of electrical current that flows along overhead or underground lines to our homes and businesses. That’s how the sun can power your lights, appliances, and the computer screen you may be using to read this.