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Solar energy has finally arrived. For many years, scientists were hard at work at developing affordable solar energy systems designed to power homes. The earliest work into the development of solar panels actually dates back a full century.

The 100 years of work has paid off. Both reliability and efficiency have been perfected, which is why solar panels are showing up on the roofs of residential and commercial properties.

The panels are even appearing on roadsides connected to poles. These panels are used to support the energy delivered to local municipalities.

Someone who only observes the solar energy world from a peripheral perspective might have a vague idea of what a solar panel is, but the technology is still mysterious. Nothing about solar panels is magical, mysterious, or mystical. The mechanisms are rooted in tried and true science. What is most amazing about solar panels is the absolute simplicity that goes into their engineering.

What Is A Solar Panel?

Solar panels look a lot like windows panes, but they are really solar cells that capture the light from the sun. Once the light is captured, the panels then convert the light into electricity. Commonly, the electricity is directed into the home. Once the solar-converted power is running through the electrical system, it operates in a manner no different from traditional fossil fuel-based electricity. Well, there is one major difference. Solar energy is completely clean and renewable. Hence, solar panels and the electricity the panels create do not generate an undesirable carbon footprint.

What Happens At Night?

A common and sincere question people ask is “How can solar panels convert sunlight into electricity at night?”

Solar panels do need sunlight in order to create electricity. Sunlight is not exactly abundant at 3 AM. It doesn’t have to be. During the day, electricity generated by the solar panels is directed to a grid in which it is stored. At night, electricity is drawn from the grid.

A grid is not the only place excess solar-generated electricity can be stored. The electricity might be directed to a battery system. Power would be drawn from the battery just as it would with the grid.

In some areas, the nighttime power would be drawn from the locality’s grid. A credit would be issued for the excess solar electricity contributed into the local grid.

A Good, Clean Investment

Solar panels can be a good investment since the installation of the panels eliminates monthly — and costly over time — electrical bills. Some may choose to move into a residence that is “off-grid” and not connected to the region’s electrical grid. Installing solar panels ends up being far less costly than requesting the necessary work to bring the property on-grid.

And then there is the investment solar panels contribute to the planet. Again, solar energy is clean and renewable meaning it does not contribute negatively to the environment.