How Do Solar Panels Work?

In recent years, the United Kingdom has witnessed a surge in the adoption of renewable energy sources, with solar panels emerging as a popular choice for homeowners.

This shift towards solar energy is driven by the desire to reduce carbon footprints, cut energy costs, and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Understanding how solar panels work and their benefits can help homeowners make informed decisions about incorporating solar energy into their homes.

How Do Solar Panels Work

by David Lewis, Chief Strategy Officer | published 8 February 2024

The Science Behind Solar Panels

Understanding Photovoltaic Cells

Solar panels are composed of numerous photovoltaic (PV) cells. These cells are made of semiconductor materials, typically silicon, which is adept at converting sunlight into electricity.

When sunlight hits a PV cell, it knocks electrons loose from their atoms, generating a flow of electricity. This process is known as the photovoltaic effect.

Solar Inverter

Conversion of Sunlight to Electricity

The electricity generated by PV cells is in the form of direct current (DC). Since homes and the national grid operate on alternating current (AC), solar panel systems are equipped with an inverter to convert DC into usable AC electricity.

This conversion enables homeowners to power their homes with solar energy or feed excess electricity back into the grid.

Installation and Orientation

Choosing the Right Location

In the UK, solar panels should ideally be installed roughly facing south to maximize exposure to sunlight.

However, east, southeast, southwest and west orientations are also effective.

The angle of installation is important, too, with a tilt of about 30 to 40 degrees recommended for optimal performance.

Solar Panel Orientation

Environmental Impact

Go Green

Solar panels are a clean, green source of energy. By choosing solar power, homeowners contribute to reducing carbon emissions and combating climate change.

This environmental benefit is a compelling reason for many to switch to solar energy, alongside the financial savings.


Solar panels offer an efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective way for homeowners to generate electricity.

The whole system works automatically, with no user input required. The panels are highly robust and come with product warranties ranging from 25 to 40 years for complete peace of mind.

Understanding how they work and the benefits they provide makes the transition to solar energy an easier and more rewarding experience.

Ground Mount Solar Panels