How Do Solar Panels Work?

2 August 2023

How Do Solar Panels Work?

The PV cells in a solar panel absorb solar energy when the sun shines on them. This energy produces electrical charges that move in response to an internal electrical field within the cell, causing electricity to flow.

At the heart of solar panel technology is the photovoltaic effect. This effect occurs when certain materials, known as semiconductors, absorb particles of light from the sun. The energy from these particles of light knocks electrons loose from the atoms within the semiconductor material, generating an electric current. Silicon, commonly used in solar panels, is an ideal semiconductor for this process due to its abundance and efficiency in capturing sunlight.

The increasing global demand for renewable energy sources has driven significant interest in solar power as a sustainable and eco-friendly solution. Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic or PV panels, have become a prominent player in this quest for cleaner energy. These ingenious devices allow us to convert sunlight into electricity, paving the way for a greener future.

What Makes a Solar Panel?

A typical solar panel consists of several layers working together to convert sunlight into electricity.

The first layer is the photovoltaic cells, the building blocks of a solar panel. Each cell contains two layers of semiconductor material, with an electrical field created between them. When sunlight strikes the cell, electrons are freed and flow through the electrical field, generating direct current, or DC, electricity.

The next layer typically consists of conductive metal plates. These are on the top and bottom of the cell and collect the generated electricity before transferring it to the solar panel’s wiring.

Next, the photovoltaic cells are sandwiched between a protective layer of tempered glass on the front and a polymer encapsulant on the back, shielding the cells from external factors and ensuring their longevity.

Lastly, we have the backsheet. This is a weather-resistant layer placed on the backside of the solar panel, further protecting it from moisture and other environmental factors.

Solar Panel Installation

Solar panels can be installed on rooftops or as standalone systems in remote locations. When sunlight hits the solar panels, they produce DC electricity, which must be converted to alternating current (AC) electricity for use in homes and businesses.

This conversion is achieved using inverters, devices that convert DC electricity into AC electricity suitable for powering household appliances and feeding back into the electrical grid.

Get Started with Solar Today

Solar panels have revolutionised the way we generate electricity, presenting a sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to conventional energy sources. By harnessing the power of the sun through the photovoltaic effect, these remarkable devices are paving the way towards a cleaner and more sustainable future. As technology continues to advance, solar panels are becoming more efficient and cost-effective, especially when paired with solar batteries, making renewable energy increasingly accessible to individuals and communities worldwide.

If you’d like to get started with solar, our team can help. Get in touch with us via our online contact form to discuss all of our affordable solar panel packages. We look forward to hearing from you!

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