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How Do Solar Panels Work?

Recently, a client of ours in the Charleston, SC area asked us a great question: how do solar panels work, especially with small residential systems? There are many advantages of home solar panels. Homeowners often see a return on their investment within a few years. Plus, home solar system installation can lead to huge tax savings—up to 55% off the installation cost in the Charleston area. What’s more, reducing your dependence on the grid is a huge environmental step. Homeowners must always be mindful of their biggest expense outside of their mortgage: heating and cooling their houses. Indeed, energy bills can be shockingly high at the end of the month, especially in the hot Southern summers, when ACs are running overtime. One great way out of this monthly headache is to install a residential solar system.

But how do they really work? Explore our guide to home solar power systems below to learn more!

Solar Panels

The solar panels themselves are made of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity during the day. Photovoltaic cells have been used in space, specifically in the electrical systems of satellites, since as far back as 1958. Today’s advanced solar panels make it possible to offset as much as 60% or 70% of your home’s energy needs, depending on the size of your roof.


An inverter has the most important job of this whole process—it converts the direct-current (DC) energy from the solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is what we use in our homes. This allows electricity created by your home’s solar panels to be used to power a major portion of your lighting, heating and cooling, appliances, and everything you plug into a wall outlet.

Electrical Panel

From the inverter, the AC electricity is sent to your electrical panel, which is also called the breaker box. All of the electricity in your home must pass through a breaker before it can be used. Breakers are designed to stop the flow of electricity if too much of it tries to pass through from a power surge or other electrical issue. Without the breakers inside of our home’s electrical panels, there’d be a far greater risk of electrical fires and electrocution. After passing through the electrical panel, the electricity is then routed to the various rooms in your house, where it can power your lights, appliances, and other electricity needs.

Utility Meter

Your utility meter will measure your energy use, and it can even go backward if your system is generating more energy than you need. The surplus energy will help offset your nighttime energy use. Usually, homes with solar panels in the Charleston area are still connected to the grid. This enables residents to use power from the grid at night or when it’s cloudy, when their solar panels aren’t producing enough electricity.

Energy Storage Options

Yes Solar Solutions proudly offers energy storage options, including the cutting-edge Tesla Powerwall and the sonnenBatterie. These battery-based systems charge themselves automatically from excess solar power, reserving it for use during grid power outages or to bridge the gap between peak solar energy production during the daytime and peak energy demand at night. Our energy storage systems also feature advanced automation and controls that ensure seamless power delivery, even when the flow of electricity from the grid is interrupted.

There is no doubt that solar energy solutions do a great job at lowering the energy bill dramatically. In fact, some of our customers have reported savings as high as 80% on their power bills after installing a home solar panel system. These residential solar systems are decreasing energy use to help the environment, while also helping American homes become more sustainable overall. Before long, more local residents will install solar panels, and our energy bills will get lower and lower. Soon, we hope everyone will wonder how we ever got along without the photovoltaic cells in our home solar systems.

Thinking About a Solar Panel System for Your Home?

If you’re a homeowner looking for solar panel systems in Charleston, SC and the surrounding area, just contact Yes Solar Solutions for more information.

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