The world is changing at a rapid rate—and we need to be prepared to evolve at the same lightning speed. As the population skyrockets, our energy use rises as well. And with a limited amount of natural resources (read: fossil fuels) at our disposal, we need to work on implementing other options. Enter solar panels. Solar panels can generate energy naturally and safely, thus making them a shining alternative to fossil fuels. But before we get into the nitty gritty of solar panels, let’s back up and talk about solar energy in general.
Simply put, solar energy is energy from the sun that can be harnessed and used as electric power. This is done via photons, which is what we call the energy that the sun releases. This may not come as a shock, but photons are made up of some pretty powerful stuff. In fact, every hour, the photons that reach Earth produce enough energy to power global energy needs for a year.
So, how do we harness this solar energy and use it to generate electricity? Two words: solar panels. Simply put, solar panels absorb light from the sun and convert it into usable energy.
Solar panels are made up of lots of tiny solar cells that absorb energy from the sun and convert it into electricity. Here’s how they work. The panels themselves are composed of three main materials: silicon, phosphorus and boron. Silicon and phosphorus have a negative charge, while boron has a positive charge. When the panels absorb photons from sunlight, these positive and negative charges interact to create a meaningful reaction. This reaction is known as electricity.
There are many benefits that go hand-in-hand with installing solar panels in your home (or business)! These are the top two.
First, solar panels will lower your electric bill. This is a big one. No matter where you live, chances are, you’re using quite a bit of energy—which means you probably receive a pretty hefty bill every month, especially in the hottest and coldest months of the year.
When you install solar panels, you no longer have to rely as heavily on traditional power. Solar panels can either supplement or completely replace your existing method of electric power, both of which can significantly decrease the amount you spend on energy. Unlike an unpredictable monthly bill, installing solar panels is a one-time fee. And the best part? Solar panels generate energy year round—even on cloudy days.
Finally, solar panels help the environment, plain and simple. Unlike fossil fuels, solar energy is clean, renewable and sustainable in the long-term. It’s not toxic to breathe in and there’s plenty of it to go around.
Holowka, Taryn. (2017, April 5.) Top Four Benefits of Installing Solar Panels in Your Home.
DeBono, Martin. (2017, October 25.) What is Solar Energy and How Do Solar Panels Work?