How does solar energy work?

How does Solar Energy Work?

Have you ever wondered, how does solar energy work? Solar energy works by converting energy from the sun into electricity. The two forms of energy generated from the sun that are used everyday are electricity and heat.

Solar Panels

When the sun shines onto solar panels, energy from the sunlight is absorbed by the photovoltaic (PV) cells in the panel. This energy creates electrical charges that move responsive to an internal electrical field in the cell, this causes electricity to flow, this energy can be stored in batteries or thermal storage.

An Inverter

The electricity produced from solar panels is in direct current. To use this domestically, the Inverter changes the current type. Changing from direct current to alternating current.

Battery Storage

Adding battery storage to your solar system is a great way to store any additional energy. This means any solar energy that your household is currently not using will be stored into your battery system. Therefore this energy can then be used for a later use when your home is demanding extra energy than your solar panels can instantly supply. For example, storage energy will be used in the evening when the sun is in.

Generation Meter

Your generation meter measures the amount of electricity your solar system is producing, which is recorded in kilowatt hours (kWh). For every kWh of green electricity that your system generates, the feed-in tariff pays you.

Consumer Unit

The Consumer Unit Board controls the distribution of Solar energy throughout your property. It will dictate when additional electricity from the grid is required or when to use stored energy from your battery system.

Powering your Homes

Green energy you use is to power your home when needed

Import meter

Your Import Meter approves any unused energy, to and from the grid.


Any solar electricity that hasn’t been used and cannot be stored, is then sent back to the grid. An example of when this occurs is when batteries are full or you don’t have a storage system. By exporting your excess energy back to the grid, potentially you can earn money through an Export Tariff. The National Grid will then pay you for generating renewable energy.

An example of Export Tariffs include Octopus Energy who has a fixed rate of 5.5p per kWh. This incentive is The Smart Export Guarantee, first introduced on the 1st of January 2020, as an incentive for renewable energy owners.

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