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How do solar panels work?

(Source: Wonders of Our World, W.O.W., The Ohio State University)


Carriage House Solar Arrays

Solar panels use the Sun’s light to make electricity; this electricity can be used to turn on lights in your house or heat your house, for example. The Sun’s light has a lot of energy stored in it, and solar panels use this energy to make electricity. The Sun’s energy comes from its light, not the Sun’s heat. A solar panel can even produce electricity on a cloudy day; the Sun still gives off energy on cloudy days but just not as much as a sunny day.

After the Sun’s light becomes electricity, it is stored in a battery. A solar panel has a special device that makes sure the battery does not overcharge, like on a very sunny day. Also, the battery is helpful on cloudy days when the Sun is not out because a battery stores electricity for later use. Once the electricity is stored in a battery, it can be used whenever it is required. A solar panel collects energy from the Sun and turns it into electricity that can be used for all different appliances. And, if you use electricity from a solar panel, you do not have to pay an electric bill!

Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden
358 North Parkview Ave., Columbus, Ohio 43209