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Sunshine is on the Way

How solar energy gets to homes 

Imagine you’re traveling along a roadway when you notice a large field of solar panels. Have you ever wondered how the panels convert sunlight to electricity? 

Follow how the sun’s energy travels from a solar panel to your home:

Georgia’s EMCs lead the nation among electric cooperatives for solar energy with nearly 1,400 megawatts of solar energy available today – enough to help power more than 227,000 EMC households annually. Jackson EMC receives solar energy from solar sites and offers members the option to participate in its Cooperative Solar program.

1. Sun power 

Solar energy is energy that we get from sunlight, which is made up of particles called photons. When sunlight hits a solar panel, the energy from photons is converted into negatively charged electrons. The electrons then flow through the panel to an inverter.

2. Conversion

Solar panels have wires that carry the energy from the panel to an inverter. An inverter is one of the most important pieces of equipment in a solar energy system. It’s a device that converts direct current (DC) electricity, which is what a solar panel generates, to alternating current (AC) electricity, which is what we use in our homes and businesses.

3. Transmission 

At large-scale solar facilities, such as those in south Georgia, a substation will transport electricity from inverters to transmission lines. These lines are part of the transmission grid, a network of high-voltage power lines that carry electricity from generation sources, like solar facilities and nuclear power plants, long distances to substations in local communities.

4. Distribution 

Transmission lines carry electricity to substations in a community, where the voltage is lowered before being taken to overhead or underground power lines in neighborhoods.

Did you know? 

  • Solar panels can be mounted using two types of racking systems. The first is a fixed tilt, which means the solar panels stay at the same angle throughout the day. The second uses single-axis or dual-axis trackers, which allows the panels to follow the sun throughout the day to capture the most sunlight. These types of solar panels produce more energy than a fixed tilt panel
  • When it’s cloudy, solar panels will still get some energy, but production is reduced. Solar panels also function better when the temperature isn’t extremely high. Sunny, clear skies and a moderate temperature make for ideal energy production.
  • Solar energy isn’t available at night or when it’s very cloudy. When the temperature is very hot outside, such as summer afternoons and evenings, solar panels may not produce energy as efficiently. That’s why storage of solar energy has become an emerging technology. Industry leaders are continuing to develop advancements in storage systems that are efficient and affordable for short-term and long-term energy demands.
  • Jackson EMC’s Cooperative Solar program allows you to benefit from receiving solar energy from off-site solar facilities to your home. With Cooperative Solar, you don’t have to install solar panels at your home. You can purchase solar energy blocks from Jackson EMC at a monthly rate.

For more information about Jackson EMC renewable energy options, visit jacksonemc.com/renewables.