How Does Solar Work?

Solar power works by converting energy from the sun into electricity that we use to power our homes and businesses. Solar energy is a renewable and infinite energy source that creates no harmful greenhouse gas emissions. To harness the power from the sun we install objects, known as solar panels, that when exposed to the photons from the sun it releases electrons that product an electrical charge.

There are several components to a solar energy system and some components may vary depending on if you're installing solar on your home or business.

Solar Panels (Photovoltaic Modules)

Solar panels are made up of silicon wafers (cells) sealed in a durable encapsulate, and often framed in aluminum.

Photovoltaic refers to the occurrence of light hitting the surface of a panel and creating an electrical charge. This, direct current (DC Electricity) is sent down wires into the home where it is stored or converted into another useful form of energy, such as light or mechanical energy.

Typical solar panel warranties stipulate a solar module should produce at minimum 80% of its year one production output after 25 years of service!

Solar Inverters

A solar inverter converts DC electricity generated by the solar panels into the alternating current (AC) electricity that buildings use to power lighting, appliances and more.


You solar panels may have Power Optimizers attached to them, allowing benefits such as safety, shade tolerance, and individual and panel level monitoring.

Recently, the inverter has begun to take on a central and intelligent role, managing power from the solar array, grid, and battery sources (if installed).

Solar Batteries & Energy Storage Solutions

A solar battery is a device that stores energy generated by solar panels for later use. Whenever the panels produce more electricity than your home requires, the surplus is stored within these batteries.


Solar batteries come in different form factors and are made up of different chemistries allowing solar installation companies, like Peninsula Solar, to tailer the correct battery storage solution for you. This new and streamlined approach to energy storage has numerous advantages over traditional "deep-cycle" battery systems and are rapidly becoming common due to their practicality.

Effective use of solar energy storage can end up saving you tons of money in the long run when it comes to curbing demand charges by utility companies. Many individuals we have installed for us it for "Time of Use Rates" which is when utility companies charge more for energy usage than other times of day. This is usually around times where peak electricity usage happens.

You can save 30% on your solar installation costs with a federal tax incentive.

Peninsula Solar is a leading solar installation company based in Northern Michigan. They have been installing solar panels for homeowners and commercial customers for over a decade.

Let the team at Peninsula Solar help you see how much you can save by going solar.

Ballasted Roof Mount — Lakeshore Building
Commercial solar installation on large building.

The lifespan, or operational period, of a solar panel is measure by how long a panel can produce electricity efficiently.

There are several factors that influence the efficiency of solar panels, such as quality, defects environmental factors and how well maintained the panels are.

Components of a Solar Energy System

A professionally installed solar energy system will have several components to it. It's good to brush up on exactly what will be in your system. The guides below will step you through each component and give you some background so you know what solar installers are talking about.

These guides will also give you tips on how to maintain these different components over time, the pros and cons of each and how they are installed.

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Types of Solar Panels

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Looking to learn more about solar energy?

The guides below will step you through some more information on what solar energy is and the mechanics behind solar panels. These informational guides are to help you understand more about what's being installed on your home or business and even help answer some very common questions.

If your question isn't answered here then feel free to contact Peninsula Solar at any time and we are happy to answer all of your questions.

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Solar Panel Size and Weight

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