How does solar energy work?

Posted by 16th July, 2018 in

All things solar

We are often asked the question: ‘how does solar power work?’ – how can the light from the sun run the electrical equipment in your home and business? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t simple and we’ll have to use some technical jargon to explain the process. After reading this blog you will hopefully understand how a system works and maybe even look to install solar on your roof.

How does solar work? - the technology

There are two major components involved in a solar system: solar panels and inverters. Both are critical in making a solar system work and every quote from a solar supplier will include a number of both, depending on the size of the system.

Solar panels

Solar panels are used to generate electricity. They are made up of a set of solar cells (more about them below) that are electronically connected and mounted on the supporting panel structure.

A solar cell is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity using something called the photovoltaic (PV) effect. It is a form of photoelectric cell which, when exposed to light, can generate and support an electric current without being attached to any external voltage. To put it in simpler terms:

  • Sunlight is made up of tiny packets of energy called photons.
  • PV cells are made up of atoms (protons, neutrons and electrons).
  • Photons hit PV panels and release electrons.
  • The movement of electrons is electricity.


Inverters are the critical component of a photovoltaic system allowing the use of ordinary commercial appliances. It does this by converting the variable direct current output of a PV solar panel into a utility frequency alternating current that can be fed into a commercial electrical grid or used by a business or household.

A solar inverter is an integral part of a system. You can have the best solar panels available, but if your solar inverter is of poor quality, overall system performance can be greatly reduced.

So that in a nutshell is how solar works. Give us a call on 1300 013 648 or send us an email and we can start your future towards a greener future.