Solar energy technology is gaining momentum all around the world as more and more countries are switching to this clean and renewable source of energy for fulfilling their primary needs. With rapid improvements in manufacturing quality and technical efficiencies, many homeowners and businessmen have opted solar technology as a viable alternative solution.
Moreover, the decline in cost in the last a few years have compelled people to transition to solar in contrast to other non-renewable sources. As we all know, sun is an ultimate source of energy and we can harness its benefits by tapping into its resources. But the question is how do solar panels work and what technology do they use?
How Solar Panels Work and Generate Electricity
To understand this phenomenon, let’s see the basic and important parts of solar panels that are involved in capturing the sunlight and powering our electrical devices. A typical solar panel consists of a layer of silicon cells, a glass casing, and a network of wires that allow the current to flow from silicon cells. Silicon is a conductive non-metal that absorbs and converts sunlight into electricity.
When sunlight falls on a layer of a silicon cell, it causes electrons to be set into motion, which starts a flow of electric current. This phenomenon is known as the “photovoltaic effect,” and the general functionality of solar panels revolve around this technology.
4 Steps Involved in the General Photovoltaic Process:
• Silicon Photovoltaic Solar Cells Absorb Solar Radiation
• Sun Interacts with Solar Cell, Absorbs Photons, Electrons Flow, and An Electric Field is Created
• Electric Current Generated (Captured by Nodes and Wiring in the Panel)
• Wires Feed Direct Current (DC) Electricity -> Solar Inverter -> Alternating Current (AC) Electricity
Other Important Components of Solar Panels
In addition to silicon cells, a typical solar panel comprises of a glass exterior that ensures durability and protection for the cells. Under the glass casing, the panel has a layer for insulation and a protective back sheet, which prevents heat dissipation, protects from high temperature, and humidity inside the panel. The insulation layer is important because increases in temperature will lead to a decrease in efficiency, resulting in an overall decline is solar performance.
How Solar Panels Work for Homes and Businesses
As mentioned above, the basic functionality of solar panels is same as they work by absorbing sunlight (photons) with photovoltaic cells, generating direct current (DC) energy and then converting it to usable alternating current (AC) energy with the help of solar inverter. AC energy then flows through the home’s or commercial electrical panel and is distributed accordingly to power the electrical devices of your home and commercial offices. The excess electricity produced by solar panels is fed to the electric grid.