How Do Solar Panels Turn Solar Energy Into Electricity?

Published: 22 November 2021

We all know solar power is a great way to save money and reduce our carbon footprint, but how do solar panels create solar energy?

Solar panels create solar energy using the photovoltaic (PV) cells that are embedded within the panels. PV cells capture sunlight and convert it into direct current (DC) energy. DC energy is then turned into alternating current (AC) energy and distributed throughout your home.

Solar energy is of immeasurable value to the earth. The sun transmits enough solar energy to the earth within one hour to power the whole world for a year. We need to cultivate as much of this solar energy as possible. 

Solar panels are, of course, the best means of retaining solar energy. 

You will find an in-depth account of how solar panels create solar energy in this article. 

Let’s dive in!

Step 1: The sun radiates sunlight – even when it’s cloudy 

Photovoltaic cells in solar panels only need light from the sun to produce energy. Direct sunlight is not necessary to make solar energy. Solar panels can create solar energy even when clouds block the sun.

About 173,000 terawatts of solar power are constantly transmitted to the earth. 

This figure is 10,000 times higher than the average power used on earth at any given time. The massive amount of solar energy is impossible to block out by clouds. 

You can guarantee that your solar panel is cultivating solar energy if it’s light enough outside to see. 

Direct sunlight does increase the amount of solar energy produced, however. 

Summer is prime time for solar energy production when your solar panel will generate energy like a small power plant! 

You may find that less solar power is produced in the winter when days are shorter, and the sun is dimmer. 

Solar savings calculator banner.

Step 2: Photovoltaic cells cultivate the sunlight 

Photovoltaic cells can cultivate the photons in the sunlight due to the conducting silicon placed around the PV cells. The action initiates a flow of electron current, which gradually builds up. An electric field is eventually created. 

Some photons cause electrical changes in the PV cells, which forces these electron currents into motion. 

Electrons are held in place in the PV cells by atoms. After being directly hit by a photon from the sun, these cells are freed. 

Photons can sometimes not penetrate the PV cells and merely reflect off them. Photons are either absorbed, reflected, or pass through the cells. 

When absorbed, this change in the photons and PV cells’ property is known as the ‘photovoltaic effect.’ 

Step 3: The photons become DC energy 

The movement of cells caused by the photons generates direct current energy. DC electricity is useless for powering your home, as it only flows in one direction. Your solar panel must convert DC into alternating current (AC) electricity to be usable. 

Photons are the principal particles of sunlight. 

They do not hold a charge, but they can cause a charge in other cells, atoms, and particles that they come into contact with. 

Step 4: DC electricity becomes AC electricity 

Solar panel inverters convert the DC electricity accrued into AC electricity. The solar inverter is your panel’s most important component, as, without it, the electricity produced would be of no use domestically. 

The electrical grid in your area relies on AC power, as well as the appliances in your home. 

The alternating current can travel forward and backward, making it easier to use over distances as it requires only straightforward circuitry. 

You can get a solar inverter to take control of all of your solar panels or individual inverters attached to each panel separately. 

The second option may be better, as one inverter may be overrun if you have several panels. 

Step 5: AC electricity is distributed throughout your home 

The AC electricity is fed directly from the solar panel into your house’s electricity system. Throughout the day, you can use your solar panel to produce energy at any time. You can also use solar panel energy at night if you have solar energy stored on a battery. 

Solar energy is the same as the electricity sourced from your local grid. 

You do not need to convert any aspect of your house to accommodate solar power. 

You can double-check that your solar panel is creating solar energy by checking the inverter

If the inverter is displaying a green light, it means that the panel is cultivating solar power. 

If the inverter is showing red, it means that it’s not bright enough outside for the solar panel to cultivate any sunlight. 

But it could also mean that there’s something wrong with the setup or wiring of your solar panel. Consult an expert’s advice if so. 

You will still be able to receive regular electricity from your local grid. Your home switchboard will pick solar energy over grid energy. 

Step 6: Solar panels store energy for the evenings

While creating solar energy throughout the day, your solar panels can even store surplus solar energy for the evening. You can attach batteries to your solar panels that fill up as the day goes on. 

You may not invest in solar panels as you feel they would be a waste of investment. After all, you can only cultivate new solar energy throughout the day when you’re likely to use the least amount of electricity. 

In that case, get batteries on your solar panels to ensure your house stays electrified through the evening. 

You can connect solar batteries to your solar panel in two areas. 

  • At the switchboard where they will collect AC energy 
  • Or, to the inverter, where it will cultivate DC energy 

You can even sell leftover solar energy to your local grid, the price of which will be subtracted from your next energy bill. 

Get a net meter to find out how much solar energy your panels produce 

A net meter shows you how much solar energy your panels are producing and the amount that you’re consuming. Net meters are useful as they allow you to gauge how well your solar panels are working.

Net meters can also help you decide whether to sell some solar energy to your local grid or invest in a storage battery


Solar panels create solar energy by taking the photons from the sunlight, activating electrons, and generating DC power. The DC power builds up and is eventually put through the solar inverter. The inverter converts direct current into AC electricity. 

AC electricity is what is necessary to power most of the appliances you find at home. 

You can use the solar energy produced exclusively in the daytime or store it in an attachable battery so that you can power your house in the evening. 

The solar energy produced by solar panels can be used to power your home fully, meaning a lifetime reduction in your monthly energy bills. 

Solar panels have increased in price in Australia recently. However, they are a worthy investment in the long run. 

Australian’s on average, can save around $3400 per year with an 8kw solar panel system. 

Check out Nectr’s product page if you want to power your home with solar but don’t know where to start. Here, you can get an idea of what solar layouts you can get for your home. 

Next Steps…

Interested in solar? By clicking below you can use our smart solar calculator to find out just how much you could save with solar, what rebate you are eligible for, and the impact you will have on the environment.

Don’t wait until next quarter’s bloated bill, and get started today!

Click here to calculate your solar savings!

Join over 20,000 homeowners who have made the switch with Nectr, or the 1000+ positive reviewers who have been more than happy with their solar install.

Otherwise, you can always contact us on 1300 133 556, or email if you prefer at

Solar calculator with call to action.

Interested in Solar?

Find out if you’re eligible for solar and how much you could save by switching.

Start Now

Get in touch with one of our experts

Contact Us