How it Works - Grid-Tied- Mi-Modal - Tennessee Valley Solar

How It Works

Under the sun, a photovoltaic cell acts as a photosensitive diode that instantaneously converts light – but not heat – into electricity.

How solar panels work to convert electrons into solar energy for your home or business

Cell Layers

A top, phosphorus-diffused silicon layer carries free electrons – un-anchored particles with negative charges. A thicker, boron doped bottom layer contains holes, or absences of electrons, that also can move freely. In effect, precise manufacturing has instilled an electronic imbalance between the two layers.

Sun Activation

  1. Photons bombard and penetrate the cell.
  2. They activate electrons, knocking them loose in both silicon layers.
  3. Some electrons in the bottom layer sling-shot to the top of the cell.
  4. These electrons flow into metal contacts as electricity, moving into a circuit throughout a 60-cell module.
  5. Electrons flow back into the cell via a solid contact layer at the bottom, creating a closed loop or circuit.

Powering Homes and Businesses with Solar

Current leaving a module, or array of modules, passes through a wire conduit leading to an inverter. This device, about the shape of a waffle iron, inverts direct current, which flows with a fixed current and voltage, into alternating current, which flows with oscillating current and voltage. Appliances worldwide operate on AC. From the inverter, the solar-generated power feeds into circuitry of a household, business or power plant and onto the region’s electrical grid. This is called a Grid-Tied System.  An Off-Grid, or independent, power system also can form a self-contained circuit without connecting to the grid. The off-grid system, however, requires batteries to store power for times, such as night, when modules do not capture enough light energy from the sun.

Bi-Modal Solar System

A bimodal solar system is a solar system that can operate in either grid-tied or off-grid mode, and uses battery storage. The difference in the bimodal system is the inverter setup, which draws DC power from the battery system instead of from the solar array. In the case of a bimodal system, the array simply charges the battery. Power is drawn from the batteries, inverted to AC, and then sent to power your home. Excess energy is sent back to the power company via the grid.

Should the utility company have an issue and go down, a transfer switch automatically disconnects the bimodal solar array from the utility and tells the inverter to supply AC power sourced from the battery bank.

Bimodal solar systems are popular for homeowners and businesses where a back-up power supply is required for critical loads such as computers, refrigerators, water pumps, or lighting when a utility power outage occurs. With a bimodal system, the AC power from the inverter is routed to an isolated subpanel that serves only the critical loads.

We Proudly Use

Solar World USA - Tennessee Valley Solar Suniva Solar - Tennessee Valley Solar Powers Solar Frames - Tennessee Valley Solar Yaskawa Solectria Solar - Tennessee Valley Solar Fronts - Tennessee Valley Solar SMA America - Tennessee Valley Solar

Which is Right for You or Your Business?

Roof Mount Solar Panels - Tennessee Valley Solar


Rooftop solar arrays are one of the more popular options for home owners because residential roofs usually have enough space and are well-suited for maximum energy production. Your roof should be unshaded and ideally facing toward SSE and SSW for best results.

Canopy Solar Panel Installation - Tennessee Valley Solar


Canopy installations are by far our most popular installation for both residential and agricultural applications. Because the canopy is above ground, vehicles can park under it, yard or farm equipment can be stored under it, etc.

Ground Mount Solar Panel Installation - Tennessee Valley Solar

Ground Mount

Ground-Mount solar panel installation works well for someone who has unshaded land or field. This makes it a great option for agricultural applications.

Building Integrated Installation - Tennessee Valley Solar

Building Integrated

A Building Integrated Installation is a great choice for a commercial installation. Because it is installed in a way that works with the design and architecture of your facility, it's a great option for a business or government facility that doesn't have a lot land.

Schedule a Consultation Today!

We believe that solar can be a solution for anyone and we're committed to helping you find a solar solution to fit your needs as well as your wallet. We would love to talk with you in person. Our consultations are free, call us today!

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