The fact that plants can use sunlight to sustain themselves can seem nearly magical, but recently humankind has developed its own system to work with solar energy. We've progressed far beyond using the sun to simply heat things. Solar energy systems, also called photovoltaic systems, can generate electricity to allow people to run home appliances with solar panels. This is a great option for many individuals not only to save money, but to avoid releasing dangerous emissions in our environment. But how does solar energy work?

Breaking the word "photovoltaic" down, we have "photo" meaning light, and "voltaic" referencing volts, which are units of electrical force. When you look at the full meaning, then, you have light generated electricity. Solar panels use photovoltaic chips, which are what allow this process to take place. PV chips are commonly made of silicon, which is a semiconductor. This means silicon has a high capacity to release energy whenever sunlight hits its surface. Solar panels can then create energy to be used for a specific purpose within the scheme of a complete solar energy system.

The photovoltaic cells in a solar energy system use two layers of semiconductors in order to excite electrons. One layer of cells is positively charged and the other negatively, and so tension is created between them and volts are generated. This is all well and good, but the electricity made when the sun hits a solar panel is in the form of direct current, or DC energy. To change this into something that will be compatible with a normal 240V home appliance, it needs to be changed into alternating current (AC) energy using an inverter.

The reasoning behind this is due to the fact that AC energy is more effective than DC energy. With DC energy, electrons only flow in one direction. This is contrasted with AC energy, where electrons continually switch directions, allowing them to be safer (since different amounts of power can be transmitted), and move longer distances without losing energy. Solar energy systems do a great job of generating their own electricity with an inverter as described, but they can also be supplemented by your city's electricity grid. This can serve two purposes - if you end up not meeting your electrical requirement through solar energy alone, the grid will provide you with electricity to continue living as usual. If you create more electricity than you use, however, then it will get fed into the grid and the city will compensate you with cash for the additional green energy you've provided.

It's obvious to see that the advantages of a solar technology system are extensive, and the science behind them is simple and efficient. Even if you find the prospect of setting up a solar energy system by yourself to be intimidating, many professionals are available to help with getting a solar energy system set up on your home. In the coming years solar power technologies will only grow more sophisticated, and many more ways will be found to maximize the usage and amount of electricity people are able to produce. By committing to solar energy and determining how it can support you, you'll be on your way to lowering energy bills and creating a healthier future.

If you are living in Australia and you are considering investing in solar energy, check out this site to acquire three no-cost quotes about how you can get up and running with a solar system for your home's energy requirements.