How Does Solar Energy Work: A Detailed Guideline

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How Does Solar Energy Work: A Detailed Guideline
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Solar energy is the energy coming to Earth in the form of sunlight. This is such a whopping amount of energy that the energy received in one and a half hours is enough to cover the global energy consumption for an entire year. How does solar energy work for us? Solar technologies convert the received sunlight into electrical energy using photovoltaic (PV) panels or mirrors. This energy is then transformed into the required form and used directly or sometimes stored for later use. This article will discuss how solar energy works and how many different technologies are available.

How does solar energy work?

The basic principle of how solar energy works is that the solar technological equipment captures the sunlight converts its energy into electrical energy and transmits it directly for use or stores it in batteries. Now, let us see how solar energy works step by step.

How does solar energy work
  1. The essential component of a solar panel is a photovoltaic(PV) cell. These cells are usually made from silicon. When there is sunlight, the photons in it are absorbed by the photovoltaic cells.
  2. The photons of sunlight separate the electrons out of the silicon atoms, making them move quickly. These free electrons then travel through the layers of the PV cell and generate electrical current.
  3. This DC electrical current then flows into the conductive wire of the panel and is delivered to the inverter. The inverter converts DC into AC, making it available for standard appliances.
  4. The AC current can be used directly in the appliances or stored in the batteries. The grid-tied systems also connect this current to the utility meter, so it is sold back to the grid whenever there is excess power.

This is how solar energy works in a PV-based system. However, other solar energy systems exist, such as solar thermal and concentrated solar energy systems. We will discuss these systems in the following sections.

How Does Solar Thermal Energy Work?

The basic principle of solar thermal heating is to harness and convert solar energy into heat energy. Let us understand this in detail through the solar energy work diagram below.

  1. The sunlight is captured through theroof-mounted solar panels connected to a boiler, collector, or immersion heater.
  2. These solar panels use the captured sun energy to heat the fluid(a combination of water and antifreeze substance), which will be pumped to a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is placed in your water tank, and the hot fluid will heat the water.
  3. Once the fluid releases heat, it is channeled back to the collector for reheat.
  4. The controller manages fluid circulation to the controller when sufficient heat is available.

evacuated tube diagram

How Does Passive Solar Energy Work

Passive solar designs rely on the building's design and sunlight angles, climate, and special materials to minimize energy use by strategically heating the building during the day to keep it warm at night. In summer, these designs shield the building from sunlight, using an insulated roof to keep the home cooler. Let us see how passive solar energy works.

When radiant heat enters a building, it is absorbed using a thermal mass, heat-collecting material. This thermal mass retains the heat and thus keeps the space around it warm.

five elements of passive solar design

How Does Solar Energy Work At Night

The solar energy systems work on the availability of sunlight. But what about using this energy at night? In this case, you need storage for your solar power. It can either be batteries or a solar generator. Batteries for solar energy storage can be expensive.

The Jackery Solar Generator series offers various solar generators of different sizes. Generators use solar panels to capture the sunlight and convert it into electric current. The generator has an inbuilt inverter that converts DC into AC. This current is then stored in the battery already included in the generator.

Once the solar generator is charged, you can use it to run your appliances, whether the sun is shining or not. So you can run your appliances at night or during the rainy season. The Jackery solar generators are equipped with advanced chargeShield technology, and they can be charged from zero to full in as quick as 2 hours.

How Does Solar Energy Work In A House

Solar power has applications both in industries and in domestic use. In fact, now we can see built-in solar panels in many devices like calculators and even in solar-lit roadways. But most of us want to know how solar energy works for homes and reduces the cost of power consumption.

Let us see how solar energy works for homes step by step.

  1. Solar energy is captured by solar panels using the photovoltaic (PV) effect.
  2. The captured sun energy activates the electrons and lets them lose form the semiconductor silicon material.
  3. These free electrons cause the flow of DC, which channels into the electric wires along the edge of the solar panel and then eventually enters into a junction box as direct current (DC).
  4. The inverter then changes this DC electricity into AC electricity for your appliances.

Grid-Tied System

grid-tied system

A grid-tied system means that your electricity grid and in-house solar electrical system are connected through the main electrical service panel. So, you use solar power to run the house during the day, and grid power is used during the night. If your system produces excess electricity, it is sold back to the grid, and your power bill is adjusted accordingly.

You earn credit for solar electricity you sell to the grid, which can be used to offset the grid electricity use. This is called net metering.

Battery Storage System

This system is popular in off-grid systems, where power outages are standard and net metering policies are unavailable. So, instead of pushing the excess power back to the grid, it is stored in the batteries connected to the inverter.

Jackery Solar Generators

The Jackery solar generators are characterized by their durability, reliability, and quick recharge features. You can choose from a wide range of generators available to meet your power requirements. Our recommendation for general home usage is Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Plus. If you are looking for a power backup to transfer all your home electrical load in case of an emergency or outage, Jackery 3000 Pro is your perfect partner.

Capacity: Rated Watt: 3000W

Surge Watts: 6000W

Capacity: 2-24 kWh

Battery Cell&Life Cycle: LFP (LiFePO4 battery) Cycle life:4000 cycles to 70%+ capacity

Recharging Methods & Time: Solar Panel 2-7 Hours

AC Adapter: 2 Hours

Car Charging: 25 Hours


Portable Air Conditioner(1150W) 1.9 H

Microwave(1050W) 1.5 H

Kettle (850W) 1.9 H

Coffee Maker (550W) 2.8 H

Drone (90W) 45 Times

Electric Oven (800W) 2.1 H

The Jackery solar generator 2000 Plus has an essential capacity of 2kWh but can be expanded to 24kWh by adding more battery packs. Also, two 2000 Plus generators can be interconnected to achieve a gigantic capacity of 24kWh. It is weather resistant, reliable, and comes with technology to provide fluctuation-free power to keep your appliances safe.

Review“Quality all the way! Works like a charm!" -Jared

Capacity: Rated Watt: 3000 W

Surge Watts: 6000 W

Capacity: 3024Wh

Battery Cell&Life Cycle: Lithium-ion Battery Cycle life: 2000 cycles to 70%+ capacity

Recharging Methods & Time: Solar Charging (6 Panels) 3-4 H

Wall Charging 2.4 H

Car Charging 35 H


Refrigerator (520W) 5 H

TV (60W) 35 H

Light (5W) 220 H

Heater (1800W) 2.2 H

Microwave (960W) 2.2 H

Electric grill (850W) 2.4 H

The Jackery solar generator 3000 Pro is large enough to power your entire household for an extended period. It is equipped with a BMS (Battery Management System) that provides 12 layers of protection against short circuits and overvoltage. The pure sine wave inverter also ensures stable power to safeguard your appliances.

Review: "So far, it is great! Sent right away. Works great so far with home charge and solar charge. Will be hooking it up to my pop-up camper next week. Great size, quiet and good app so far.” -James Matthews


How does solar energy work? Solar energy is harnessed for domestic and industrial use through different models. You can choose between PV-based solar electrical systems, thermal systems, or passive systems that work without dedicated equipment. We have also discussed various models of using solar energy in your home.

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