How Do Solar Panels Work?

Joe Brennan
Mar 11, 2023

Are you a Dublin homeowner considering going solar? You’ve probably asked yourself, “how do solar panels work?” In this comprehensive guide, we will explore how solar panels work, how solar panels work in Ireland, and how a solar PV system works. By the end of this article, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of solar technology and be well-equipped to make informed decisions for your home or business.

Brief Introduction to Solar Energy

Solar energy is a clean, renewable source of power that utilises sunlight to produce electricity. Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, are devices that convert sunlight into electricity. Solar energy is becoming increasingly popular worldwide, including in Ireland, where government incentives and environmental concerns are driving the adoption of solar technology.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

To understand how solar panels work, it’s essential to know the science behind them. Solar panels are made of solar cells, which are typically composed of silicon, a semiconducting material. When sunlight hits the solar cells, it causes electrons to move, creating an electric current. This process is called the photovoltaic effect.

Converting Sunlight into Electricity

The electricity generated by solar cells is direct current (DC) electricity. However, most household appliances require alternating current (AC) electricity. To convert the DC electricity generated by the solar cells into usable AC electricity, a device called an inverter is used.

How Solar Panels Work in Ireland?

You might wonder how solar panels work in Ireland, considering the country’s reputation for unpredictable weather and cloudy skies. While it’s true that solar panels are more effective in direct sunlight, they can still generate electricity on cloudy days. Additionally, solar panels are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, such as rain, snow, and hail.

The Role of Latitude and Orientation

The amount of solar energy a solar panel can generate depends on its latitude and orientation. In Ireland, solar panels should ideally face south to maximise sunlight exposure. However, east and west-facing panels can still be effective. The angle of the panels is also crucial, with a tilt of around 30-35 degrees being optimal for Irish homes.

How a Solar PV System Works?

Components of a Solar PV System

A solar PV system consists of several components that work together to generate electricity for your home. These components include:

  1. Solar panels: Capture sunlight and convert it into DC electricity.
  2. Inverter: Converts the DC electricity generated by the solar panels into usable AC electricity.
  3. Mounting system: Secures the solar panels to your roof or ground.
  4. Battery storage (optional): Stores excess solar-generated electricity for later use.
  5. Monitoring system (optional): Allows you to track your solar system’s performance.

Grid-tied vs Off-grid Solar PV Systems

There are two main types of solar PV systems: grid-tied and off-grid. Grid-tied systems are connected to the electricity grid, allowing you to draw power from the grid when your solar panels aren’t producing enough electricity. Excess electricity generated by your solar panels can be fed back into the grid, often resulting in credits on your electricity bill. Off-grid systems, on the other hand, are not connected to the electricity grid and rely solely on solar-generated electricity and battery storage.

Choose Going Solar for Your Solar PV Installation in Dublin

Now that you have an in-depth understanding of solar panels, you may be ready to take the next step in going solar. Going Solar is a leading solar PV company in Dublin, offering comprehensive solar solutions tailored to your needs. Our team of experts can guide you through the entire process, from consultation to installation and maintenance.

Don’t miss out on the benefits of solar energy for your home or business in Dublin. Contact Going Solar today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our services. Remember, when it comes to solar panel installations in Ireland, Going Solar is your go-to expert.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How much do solar panels cost in Ireland?

The cost of solar panels in Ireland varies depending on factors such as system size, installation complexity, and government incentives. However,on average, a 4kW solar PV system for a residential property can cost between €9,000 and €12,000, including installation.

How long do solar panels last?

Solar panels are designed to be long-lasting, with many manufacturers offering warranties of 25 years or more. Over time, solar panels may experience a gradual decline in efficiency, but they can continue to generate electricity for 30-40 years or even longer.

Are there government incentives for solar panels in Ireland?

Yes, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) offers grants for homeowners to install solar PV systems and battery storage. The grant amount depends on the size of the solar PV system, with a maximum grant of €2,100 available for a 4kW system with battery storage.

How much maintenance do solar panels require?

Solar panels require minimal maintenance, primarily consisting of regular cleaning to remove dust and debris. It’s also essential to monitor the performance of your solar PV system to ensure it’s operating efficiently. If you notice a significant drop in performance, contact a professional solar installer, such as Going Solar, for inspection and maintenance.

How long does it take to install a solar PV system?

The installation of a solar PV system typically takes between 1 and 3 days, depending on the system’s size and complexity. A professional solar installer, such as Going Solar, can provide an accurate time estimate for your specific installation.

Do solar panels work during power outages?

Grid-tied solar PV systems usually do not operate during power outages for safety reasons, as they need to prevent back-feeding electricity into the grid. However, solar PV systems with battery storage or backup generators can continue to provide power during outages.

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.
Author Fahad Zahid
Founder @ Going Solar

Joe Brennan, the founder of Going Solar, is dedicated to making solar power mainstream in Ireland and meet SEAI objectives. With a focus on affordability and sustainability, he is bringing renewable energy solutions to homes, reducing costs & environmental impact.