If you’re considering solar power, your electric cooperative is here to help.
As a local energy partner, electric cooperatives are working with members to help them reach their energy goals. From increasing energy efficiency to interconnecting home solar panels, your co-op can help you find the facts you need to navigate the decision-making process. Click here to find your local co-op and connect with a local energy adviser.
How does home solar really work?
Whether you are interested in mounting solar panels to your roof or would like to add ground-mounted solar to your property, the sunlight-to-electricity conversion process works the same:
- During daylight hours on low-cloud days, sunlight will shine on your panels. These panels are often called photovoltaic or PV panels because they support the photovoltaic process of absorbing and converting light to electricity.
- The newly created electricity must be converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC), which is the kind of current used in the United States because it can be “stepped up” to support traveling long distances and “stepped down” to an appropriate voltage for household appliances. The conversion to alternating current occurs in a device called an inverter.
- In most cases, the newly formed alternating current runs through your home’s electrical panel and powers some of your home energy needs. If your home needs more energy than the solar panels can provide, you will draw metered power from the grid, just as you would have before installing panels.