How Solar Works

The process of the sun hitting a solar panel and becoming usable energy is very technical, and can be hard to understand. The important thing to understand about owning a solar system, is that nothing will change in your everyday life. You will use your outlets, air conditioning, electronics, etc. the same way you do now. Your solar system will simply be offsetting your usage by producing energy.

We have provided you with a brief overview of how the sun's energy is converted to usable energy for your home:

1.) The sun shines down onto your solar panel. The panel absorbs the sunlight and converts it from solar energy to direct current (DC) electricity.  

2.) The DC travels to the inverter; where it is converted into alternating current (AC). This is the electricity used by the utility grid and your household appliances. The inverter will typically be located in a garage or basement. 

3.) The AC travels to your electrical service panel, also known as a breaker box, which is used as an interconnection point.  

4.) The power fed to the electrical service panel will be distributed throughout your home or building by the normal electrical wiring and outlets. The green energy produced by your solar panels is free to use, and free from the harmful emissions of fossil fuels!
5.) Whether you are using the power or not, your solar panels will continue to collect and store energy from the sun. When your solar system produces more power than you’re using, the power will flow through your electric meter to the utility grid. In some cases you can actually watch your meter run backwards! Your electric utility company will credit you for any excess power produced by your solar system. The credits you earn will offset the power you use when the sun is not shining.


With a SunPower solar system, you will be able to monitor the performance and consumption (optional) of your solar system in real time, from your computer or iPhone! In the screen shot below, the yellow bars show the hourly production, and the blue bars show the hourly consumption. You can view your production/consumption by the day, month, and year.