The process of converting sunlight into electrical energy and delivering it to the outlet when using solar power involves several stages. This complex yet fascinating process is called photovoltaic conversion and consists of the following steps:
Capturing solar radiation: photovoltaic solar panels are placed on rooftops, on land, or on special structures such as solar carports. These panels are made up of photovoltaic cells, usually made of silicon, which absorb solar radiation.
The photovoltaic effect: when sunlight hits the photovoltaic cells, it causes the electrons in the silicon to be released. This reaction of electrons due to light is called the photovoltaic effect.
Generating electric current: the release of electrons creates an electric current in the photovoltaic cells. This electric current is in the form of direct current (DC), which is a type of constant electric current.
Converting direct current into alternating current: since most homes and devices operate using alternating current (AC), it is necessary to convert the direct current (DC) produced by the panels. For this, a device called an inverter is used to convert the direct current into alternating current.
Utilizing energy in the household or transferring it to the grid: after the current has been converted into alternating current, solar energy is now available for use in the household. It can power appliances, lighting, and other devices in the home. In cases where the solar system generates more energy than needed, the surplus can be transferred to the public electric grid through a process called net metering. As a result, the owner of the solar system can be compensated for the excess energy produced.
Connecting to the outlet: the electric energy produced by the solar system can now be used normally in the household, powering all devices connected to the outlet and providing a clean and sustainable energy source for the consumer.
In conclusion, solar energy goes through a photovoltaic conversion process that involves capturing solar radiation by solar panels, transforming it into direct electric current, converting it into alternating current, and ultimately supplying electrical energy to the outlet. Choosing solar energy brings significant benefits, including financial savings and reduced environmental impact, contributing to a more sustainable and eco-friendly world.