A solar panel “works by allowing photons, or particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity,” according to Live Science. That’s a technical way of saying that the panel’s photovoltaic cells convert the energy in sunlight to electricity (specifically, direct current (DC))

1. Solar Panels

Solar panels absorb energy from sunlight and convert that energy into electricity. The electricity then flows from the solar panels to the inverter.

2. Inverter

The inverter turns the direct-current (DC) electricity from the solar panels into alternating-current (AC) electricity that can power your home.

3. Net Meter

The net meter is your home’s electricity regulator and feeds electricity in and out of your home as needed. When the sun goes down, your net meter powers your home from the electric grid.