How Solar Works

Solar Photovoltaic (PV)How Solar Works - Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Diagram

We can change sunlight directly to electricity using solar cells. Every day, light hits your roof’s solar panels with photons (particles of sunlight). The solar panel converts those photons into electrons of direct current (“DC”) electricity. The electrons flow out of the solar panel and into an inverter and other electrical safety devices. The inverter converts that “DC” power (commonly used in batteries) into alternating current or “AC” power. AC power is the kind of electric that your television, computer, and toasters use when plugged into the wall outlet.

A net energy meter keeps track of the all the power your solar system produces. Any solar energy that you do not use simultaneous with production will go back into the electrical grid through the meter. At night or on cloudy days, when your system is not producing more than your property needs, you will consume electricity from the grid as normal. Your utility will bill you for the “net” consumption for any given billing period and provide you with a dollar credit for any excess production during a given period.

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System Components

A PV system components include PV modules (groups of PV cells), which are commonly called PV panels; an inverter to convert solar power from direct current (DC) to the alternating current (AC) of the utility grid-connected system; wiring; and mounting hardware or a framework. A PV module arranges individual PV cells and the modules are grouped together in an array.

Solar PV System Installation, Maintenance, and Longevity DiagramSolar PV System Installation, Maintenance, and Longevity

You could install a photovoltaic (PV) or solar electric system yourself, but to avoid complications or injury, you will probably want to hire a reputable professional contractor with experience installing solar systems. While they are sophisticated electric systems, PV systems have few moving parts, so they require little maintenance. The basic PV module (an interconnected, enclosed panel of PV cells) has no moving parts and can last more than 30 years while requiring little maintenance. The components are designed to meet strict dependability and durability standards to withstand the elements. The best way to ensure and extend the life and effectiveness of your PV system is by having it installed and maintained properly. Most issues concerning the PV system occur because of poor or sloppy system installation. Solar systems that receive rebates through Louisiana and local utilities are required to meet strict conditions before tax credits are paid. Click here to view current solar tax incentive information.

Sun Light Requirements for PV Systems

A photovoltaic (PV) system needs unobstructed access to the sun’s rays for most or all of the day in order to be effective. Shading on the system can significantly reduce energy output. Climate is not a major concern because PV systems are relatively unaffected by air temperatures and snow cover typically melts quickly because panels are positioned directly into the sunlight. Abundant year-round sunshine makes solar energy systems useful and effective nearly everywhere in Louisiana.

The Size of Your Solar PV System

The size of your solar system depends on several factors such as how much electricity or hot water or space heat you use, the size of your roof, how much you’re willing to invest, and how much energy you want to generate. Contact us to determine what type of system fits your needs and to determine what system size will offer you the best financial payback.


Main Office: Sunlight Contractors, LLC 2323 Bainbridge St #110, Kenner, LA 70062 (504) 222-2082

New Orleans location: Sunlight Contractors, LLC 1635 Elysian Fields Avenue, Suite 325, New Orleans, LA 70117 (504) 302-0058

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