How do Solar Panels Work?
Solar energy is becoming more popular as more people understand the amazing benefits of this green energy source. Solar panels are the method used to capture solar power. But have you ever wondered just how solar panels work? To begin with, solar panels consist of solar cells that are joined together to create a module. The module will contain a certain number of solar cells and are then joined together, in various forms to create an array. The arrays create solar panels, which are then used to convert solar energy into electricity. However, at the crux of the solar panel is the solar cell. Understanding how solar cells work will help make the process of solar panels less complicated.
Photovoltaic cells, also called solar cells, or PV for short, are
cells that transform light into electricity. Each solar cell is
composed of materials that are known as semiconductors. The main
semiconductor in PV cells is silicon. The silicon, within the PV
cell, absorbs the light and transforms or converts it into electricity.
This occurs because when the light energy comes in contact with
the silicon, it causes electrons to move rapidly. Once the electrons
begin moving they also begin to travel in a current. The solar panel
has a metal layer on top of the cells, as well as on the bottom,
due to the fact that it will enable people to harvest the electric
current that has been produced.
The heart of the PV cell that makes it a semiconductor is silicon.
Silicon creates most semiconductors and is used for most electrical
gadgets or technical devices. It is because of silicon's elemental
properties that cause it to create electricity. With four electrons
in silicon's orbit, they can create crystals. Silicon forms a crystal
and is an insulator, not a conductor. However, when the silicon
cell is “doped” with an impurity, it will be come a
conductor of electricity and not an insulator.
All silicon cells without an added impurity are insulators and
not conductors. This is because the electrons are locked and cannot
freely move around. Doping refers to adding other atoms to silicon,
in an attempt to basically knock the electrons free. Once the electrons
are free to move around, they will create an electric current. Sunlight
can be used to knock the electrons free, but it is much easier to
add another atom to the silicon, therefore, when the sunlight hits
the impure silicon cell, it will move freely and easily. The two
most used elements added to silicon, for the purpose of doping is
boron and phosphorus. When light hits the impure silicon atom, it
frees the electrons this is due to photons.
Photons mix with the silicon atoms and cause the electrons to move
freely. This creates the electricity that is known as solar power.
The electrons are drawn to the edge of the panel where they are
stored or harvested. If the electrons break free, they are drawn
back to the panel and will be used again.
The size of the array and the arrangement of the panels will determine
how the solar panels will be used and what functions they are capable
Solar power is becoming one of the
most important technologies used for creating electricity. It is
reusable, renewable, and a clean source of energy.