How Do Solar Panels Work?

How Do Solar Panels Work - Solar Panels - Buffalo Solar Solutions

Solar Panels

Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels convert light from the sun into DC (direct current) electricity.

But before you start watching TV, there are a few more steps in the process.

How Do Solar Panels Work - Solar Inverter - Buffalo Solar Solutions

Solar Inverter

A solar power inverter converts the DC electricity generated by your PV solar panels into AC (alternating current), electricity that can be used in your house.

How Do Solar Panels Work - Main Electrical Service Panel - Buffalo Solar Solutions

Main Electrical Service Panel

Next, the AC electricity from your inverter goes to your main electrical service panel where it can then be distributed to your appliances and devices.

How Do Solar Panels Work - Solar Net Meter - Buffalo Solar Solutions

Solar Net Meter

A solar net meter is similar to a regular electric meter, but it measures electricity flowing in two directions.

If your solar panels generate more solar energy than you use, the excess electricity gets fed into the utility grid—providing your neighbors with renewable energy and providing you with cumulative credits!

Isn’t that cool?

If you think that’s cool, learn more about the savings that solar panels can bring to your life.

What our customers are saying

“[Before going solar, my electric bill] typically ranged around $180 to $200 [per month]. I just got my first bill . . . I used absolutely no electricity from the power company, it came [to] $16.24, and there was even more left over that’s going to roll over to usage next month.”
—Peter G., Lake View, NY


Do solar panels damage your roof?

We adhere to industry best practices on every solar system design, ensuring your roof maintains every bit of its pre-solar integrity. Not only is our staff extensively trained to exacting standards, we perform a rigorous inspection before and after every installation to guarantee its quality, and recommend solutions for roofs that need extra support or modifications to carry the weight.
(Learn more — “Roof Integrity: Our Checklist for Your House”)

Does my solar energy system still make electricity if it’s cloudy or raining?

Yes. Although photovoltaic solar panels are most efficient in direct sunlight, they still work when the sun is partially blocked by clouds. We also use solar panel optimizers, which allows each solar panel to communicate with the solar inverter and make adjustments to maximize efficiency.
(Learn more — “The Truth about Shading and Solar”)

Will my solar energy system still generate electricity during a power outage?

For the safety of workers attempting to fix power outages, solar systems that are connected to the electrical grid are required by utility regulations to shut off during blackouts. Buffalo Solar Solutions recommends a natural gas generator in places where blackouts occur regularly, which is a more affordable solution than backup batteries.

Can I take my home off the electrical grid completely?

Yes, an off-grid solar power system is possible, provided you install a natural gas generator or battery backup to provide power when your demands exceed your solar production. While Buffalo Solar Solutions can help you install such a natural gas generator, it may make you ineligible for certain incentives. We will be happy to review with you the pros and cons of being off the grid and help you make an informed decision.

The Buffalo Solar Blog

Our Footprint is Always Growing!

Here at Buffalo Solar Solutions, we are fortunate to always be hard at work helping people just like you take their first step toward energy independence.

Through this partnership, Western New Yorkers are saving money while helping to improve our environment for all of us—and generations to come.


Contact Buffalo Solar Solutions for a free consultation to help you determine if solar panels are right for you.