How Solar Panels Work

A solar panel system is made up of solar panels, an inverter and a solar gateway. Solar panels are connected photovoltaic (PV) cells that capture the sunlight hitting your roof and convert the sun’s renewable energy into direct current (DC) electricity.

The inverter then converts the DC electrical output of solar panels into usable alternating current (AC) electricity in order to power your home. AC electricity is the type of energy that can run your home appliances, such as your refrigerator and microwave. The inverter is typically located in your garage or near your main electrical panel.

The energy gateway will monitor your solar production and consumption, and allow you to track your energy usage on your mobile device through the Tesla app.

Your solar system is grid-tied through your Main Service Panel. This means if you’re producing more electricity than you’re consuming, you can export energy back to the grid and receive credits if you’re in a Net Energy Metering (NEM) area. 

Alternatively, if you need more energy than your solar panels are providing, you will need to import energy from the grid. To reduce your reliance on the grid, or to conserve excess energy, consider adding a Powerwall to your system.

Powerwall, though not required for solar panels to power your home, is a rechargeable home battery that stores the excess energy produced by your solar panels. This stored energy can be used at any time, including after the sun sets or when there is a grid outage.

To learn more about how solar panels and Powerwall work together, read about combining systems.