How does solar energy work?
Solar energy is created by solar panels that are designed to absorb photons (the Sun’s rays) to create a photovoltaic (PV) effect that converts sunlight into electricity.
The solar modules produce Direct Current (DC) electricity, whereas your appliances use Alternating Current (AC). The DC power from the solar modules is carried to an electrical box called an inverter, which converts the DC power into AC power for your home.
The meter monitors the electricity generated by your solar system and the electricity you pull from the grid. When your solar system generates electricity you are sending electricity to the grid and collecting credits.
At night you’re drawing electricity from the grid, using your solar credits collected during the day. This system is called Net Metering. When your system is sized properly, your solar electricity production should net your electricity consumption.
The grid carries the electricity from the power plant to your home. In a traditional grid-tied solar application, your building will remain connected to your existing utility company to ensure you have access to power when you use more electricity than you produce.
The utility produces the energy carried through the grid to power your home. This energy comes from diverse sources, usually natural gas and nuclear, but in California more renewable power plants are being built!