Solar Panels: The Basics

As the world continues to grapple with the effects of climate change, there is a growing interest in renewable energy sources. One of the most popular options is solar power, which harnesses the energy from the sun to generate electricity. Solar panels are the key component of a solar power system and are becoming increasingly common on residential and commercial properties. This article will explore the basics of solar panels and why they are an intelligent choice for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

What Are Solar Panels?

A solar panel is a device that converts the energy from the sun into electrical energy. Solar panels are made of photovoltaic (PV) cells, silicon or other materials that can convert sunlight into electricity. The meetings are typically installed on rooftops but can also be placed on the ground or in a separate structure. When the sun shines on the panels, the PV cells absorb the sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) electricity.

Benefits of Solar Panels

Solar panels offer many benefits for the environment and homeowners or businesses. Here are some of the main advantages:

Reduced Electricity Costs

Solar panel owners can reduce or eliminate their reliance on the power grid by generating electricity. This can result in significant savings on electricity bills, especially in areas with high electricity rates.

Environmental Benefits

Solar power is a clean, renewable energy source that does not produce harmful emissions. By using solar panels, individuals and businesses can significantly reduce their carbon footprint and help combat climate change.

Increase Property Value

Installing solar panels can increase the value of a property. Many homebuyers are interested in eco-friendly features and may be willing to pay a premium for a home with installed solar panels.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

As mentioned in the previous section, solar panels use PV cells to convert sunlight into electricity. However, generating electricity from sunlight is more complex than it may seem. This section will take a closer look at how solar panels work.

Photovoltaic Cells

PV cells are the building blocks of solar panels. These cells are made of a semiconductor material, typically silicon, that has been treated to create a positive/negative junction. When sunlight hits the cell, the energy from the photons in the light knocks electrons loose from the atoms in the semiconductor material. These free electrons are attracted to the negative side of the cell and create a flow of electricity.

Multiple PV Cells

A single PV cell only generates a small amount of electricity, so solar panels contain multiple PV cells wired together to create a larger, more powerful unit. These cells are typically connected in series, meaning that one cell’s positive side is connected to the negative side of the next cell. This increases the voltage, creating a higher voltage output from the panel.


The electricity generated by the solar panel is in the form of DC power, which is incompatible with most home appliances and the power grid. Therefore, an inverter converts the DC power into AC power, which homes and businesses use. The inverter also regulates the voltage and current to ensure the electricity is safe and reliable.

Net Metering

When a solar panel system generates more electricity than the home or business needs, the excess electricity is returned to the power grid. This process, called net metering, allows the solar panel owner to receive credit for the excess electricity they generate. This credit can be used to offset the cost of electricity from the grid when the solar panels are not generating enough electricity to meet the home or business’s needs.

Solar Panel: Installation and Maintenance

Installing a solar panel system involves more than just placing the panels on the roof. A well-designed and properly installed system can maximise energy production and ensure the safety and longevity of the panels. Maintenance is also essential to ensure the system continues operating at peak performance.


Before installation, a professional installer will perform a site assessment to determine the best location for the solar panels. The roof’s orientation, angle, and shading will be evaluated to ensure the panels receive maximum sunlight. The installer will also assess the electrical system of the home or business to ensure that it can support the solar panel system.

Once the site assessment is complete, the installer will design the system and obtain the necessary permits. The installation process typically involves the following:

  • Mounting the panels on the roof.
  • Connecting the panels to the inverter.
  • Wiring the inverter to the electrical system of the home or business.

The installer will also install a meter to monitor the electricity generated by the solar panels.

Working with a qualified installer is important to ensure the system is designed and installed correctly. Improper installation can lead to decreased energy production, damage to the roof, or even safety hazards.


While solar panels require minimal maintenance, some regular upkeep is necessary to ensure the system continues operating at peak performance. Regular maintenance can also extend the lifespan of the system.

Cleaning the panels is one of the most important maintenance tasks. Dirt, dust, and other debris can accumulate on the surface of the panels, reducing the amount of sunlight that can penetrate the cells. This can decrease energy production by up to 30%. Cleaning the panels with a soft brush and mild detergent can remove dirt and debris and improve energy production.

Regular inspections are also essential to identify any potential issues with the system. An examination can reveal problems such as loose connections, damaged panels, or faulty inverters. Early detection of these issues can prevent more serious problems and costly repairs.

Monitoring the system’s energy production is essential to ensure it operates at peak performance. Monitoring software can track the system’s energy production and alert the owner to potential issues.

Why Choose Solar Panels? 

Solar panels are a smart choice for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint and save money on electricity bills. They offer several benefits, including reduced electricity costs, environmental benefits, and increased property value. Solar panels can provide reliable, clean energy for decades with proper installation and maintenance. If you are interested in installing solar panels on your property, research the options available in your area and work with a qualified installer to design and install a system that meets your needs.

How Swish Home Improvements Can Help 

Solar panels are an excellent way for individuals and businesses to reduce their reliance on traditional energy sources and do their part in combating climate change. From the savings on electricity bills to the incentive programs from many governments, there is plenty of incentive to make the switch. 

While there is an initial cost, solar panels have been proven time and time again to be a solid long-term investment. Contact Swish Home Improvements today to learn more about solar panels. They can provide your home improvement needs and answer any questions about incorporating solar into your life. 

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