Important Disclosure

Our mission at ComparingExpert is to provide our users with free information and tools that empowers you to make decisions with confidence. We may be paid when readers visit links, purchase products or services from partners listed on this site.

You do not pay any extra for using our service.

While compensation arrangements may affect the order, position or placement of product information, it doesn’t influence our assessment of those products.

Please don’t interpret the order in which products appear on our site as any endorsement or recommendation from us. compares a select range of products, providers and services, but we don’t provide comparisons or information on all available products, providers or services. There may be other options available to you than the products, providers or services covered by our service.

How Do Solar Panels Work? 2022 Guide

how soalr works
Georgia Carter Updated: 28 January 2022
We may be paid when readers visit links, purchase products or services from partners.

Fossil fuels have been the go-to source of energy for a very long time, but are we ready to ditch them? Could there be an alternative that will meet our needs and satisfy environmental concerns at once? The answer may lie in renewable sources like solar power. These technologies harness nature’s bountiful resources by converting sunlight into electricity without harmful side effects such as pollution. 

But how does solar energy work to produce electricity? In this article, we unearth the power of solar electricity, how solar panels work step by step, and why solar power and other renewable energy sources are the future of energy.

Key facts

  • Many solar panels are made from organic materials such as silicone, which successfully harness the suns rays to produce electricity.
  • There are many benefits to solar power, including the usage of the sun as an infinite resource and the lack of pollution.
  • You can choose whether you want a solar battery to store your excess energy or if you’d like to feed it back into the grid and receive cashback.
  • Off-grid homes and businesses need to rely on a solar battery system in order to operate during the night or on cloudy days.
ProvidersFeaturesSolar Quotes
Providers Over 200 vetted installers Features Explore the solar potential of your home Solar Quotes Compare quotes from 3 local installers Get Quotes Now
Get Quotes Now

Why renewable energy is important

We are so reliant on fossil fuels that we forget about the Earth’s natural resources. Solar, wind and water power can provide all of our energy needs without harming our planet or people in any way. We use coal for electricity generation because it’s cheap, but this leads to air pollution, which damages human health significantly. And when these supplies run out? There may not be anything worth burning anymore since they take thousands upon millennia just to form.

Fossil fuels will eventually run out, and we need to find alternative energy sources. Renewable energies like solar, wind or hydropower don’t harm the environment because they are non-polluting compared with fossil fuel plants that release pollution into our atmosphere, which damages it for future generations and ourselves now living on this earth. Renewable energy is infinite, healthy, and kind to the environment. Its available, fast, and effective. Additionally, the cost of installing a solar power system will help you save hundreds of dollars over time.

How solar panels work step-by-step

1. Sunlight activates the panels and captures energy

The conversion of sunlight into electricity makes solar panels so powerful and useful. In simple terms, when exposed to direct light for a certain amount of time – typically around 12 hours per day – the silicone cells on the solar panels soak in the sunlight. 

2. The cells produce electrical current

Silicon cells inside the device create free electrons that flow through an electrical circuit, creating voltage that can power your home or business. 

3. Solar Inverters Convert DC to AC

When the sun shines, it starts a process that produces electricity in your home or business. This is done through Solar Inverters, which turn Direct Current into Alternating Current to use these conveniences like lights and appliances with an easy-to-manage system.

4. Your switchboard distributes electricity

The solar panels on your house convert sunlight into AC electricity that is then connected to the switchboard so you can use it as a power source. If there’s also an electrical connection between this building and its neighbours, one of three things will happen, depending upon how much cheap energy is stored up in those batteries just past their prime.

Firstly, if any additional needs arise for some reason (like during heavy appliance usage) or secondly should too many folks be outdoors simultaneously; which would mean more than enough juice left over after everything else has been accounted for. Third option? Exported back onto The Grid.

5. Utility meter records production and consumption

Once solar has been installed, the current meter will be replaced by a bi-directional device that can record all of your power usage and export records everything back into an intelligent grid system. This way, you’ll know exactly how much electricity is coming from these beautiful panels right outside on top of their homes.

6. The Distributed Network Service Provider defines system permissions

The Distributed Network Service Provider (DNSP) is an organisation that owns and operates the grid in your local area. A portion of energy costs is paid to them as a contribution for maintenance and operational expenses – though not residential customers’ bundled into their electricity retailers’ bills.

7. You have the option to store excess power in batteries

A solar battery is a great way to store excess energy generated during the day so that it can be used at night or on cloudy days. To see if it’s worth your time, you need to consider three factors: lost feed-in tariff, a lifetime of batteries and total cost for installation. 

solar how

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Power

There are many benefits and flaws to solar power and producing electricity from solar panels. Below are a few of the pros and cons when it comes to solar power:


  • Produces clean energy
  • Less air pollution
  • A completely renewable source of energy that will never run out
  • Solar panels require little maintenance
  • Solar panels are quiet
  • Solar panels don’t take up much space
  • You can pay off your solar panel costs by feeding in electricity back to the grid


  • Expensive
  • Difficult to install
  • No power can be generated at night
  • Solar power can not be stored without a battery

Frequently asked questions and answers

  • How does solar power work in your home?

    The solar panel converts sunlight into electricity. The module consists of photovoltaic cells, which are made up of organic materials like silicon. This makes them more durable than traditional panels made solely of silver. The charge controller regulates how much energy can be stored in each battery cell before being sent throughout your home’s electrical system
  • How does solar power work at night?

    Solar power cannot work at night since there is no sunlight. This is simple: solar cells are activated by sunlight and generate electrical current as a result of the photovoltaic effect, which allows them to work in low light conditions. When there isn’t enough natural illumination to activate these devices fully (as happens during nights), nothing will happen.
  • Which materials are used to produce solar panels?

    Solar panels are composed of a number of layers, often comprising glass in the midst. The protective back comprises metal contacts that conduct electricity and shield those beneath from excess heat while also waterproofing them for safety purposes. The next thing you’ll notice about these innovative devices isn’t just how efficient solar power has become; it’s their sleek designs too. Many solar panels are black, thanks largely due to their high reflectivity ability.
  • How do grid solar systems work?

    DC-coupled systems are more complex than AC ones, but they also offer greater benefits. In these types of installation, you will use a solar charge controller to make sure your battery charges regularly and an off-grid inverter that converts the direct current into alternating current for running appliances at home. In simple terms: You can have all the energy needed without relying on utility companies with this type of design. The solar panels generate electricity that is stored in batteries. When you need more power, like during nighttime or when it’s cloudy out, your appliances will draw from these instead of waiting for sun rays to come through again. This system means no dependence on public energy grids, which can be unreliable since they’re often overused by people who don’t understand how much their usage disrupts others’ lives.
  • How does electricity flow back into the grid?

    When you have a “grid feed” or “grid-tie” system, your set-up should include an extra inverter that allows electricity from the home to be exported into public networks. This will allow any excess energy produced by solar panels on homes like yours, which are equipped with battery storage systems as well, to offload themselves without affecting their power needs in any way (and still receive credits). A major bonus is being able to provide clean, renewable sources of power elsewhere; many utilities offer net metering policies where homeowners can sell back whatever they produce at night time when there’s no demand for it during the day.

Other topics

Thanks for reaching out!

We will review your comment and get back to you as soon as possible. If your inquiry is urgent, please use the phone number listed at the top of this page.

Talk to you soon.

Have a question? Ask a specialist.

Did you know we also compare Life Insurance?

Get life insurance quotes online in under 60 seconds. Compare the features and benefits from some of the largest life insurance companies in Australia.

  • Protect Your Loved Ones
  • Save Time & Money
  • Support at Every Stage
To receive great value when comparing premiums and policy features from select insurance brands, please provide us with a few details about yourself in the quote form below.
Please select your level of cover
Please select your age
Please select your gender
Please select your smoking status
Please select your state

Almost done...

We just need a few more details about you, so that we can help you find the right cover for your requirements.
Please enter your full name, ie. John Smith
Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid mobile number

By clicking ‘Compare & Save Now’, you are accepting our Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and consenting to us contacting you about the products and services provided. Please consider the PDS before purchasing any products.

Call 1300 743 254

Thank you!

We’ll be in touch soon to ensure that we have all the information needed to create a quote specific to your unique requirements.