Solar panel technology is advancing rapidly with greater efficiency and lower prices resulting in a huge increase in demand. However, despite the massive advancements in technology, basic solar panel construction hasn’t changed much over the years. Most solar panels are still made up of a series of silicon crystalline cells sandwiched between a front glass plate and a rear polymer plastic back-sheet supported within an Aluminium frame. This article will tell you what is Solar Panel? and how Solar Panels work step by step.
What are Solar Panels?
Solar panels (also known as “PV panels which stand for photovoltaic”) are used to convert light from the sun, which is composed of particles of energy called “photons”, into electricity. Solar panels have varied applications including remote power systems for telecommunications equipment, remote sensing, and most commonly for the production of electricity for residential and commercial purposes.
How Solar Panels work step by step.
- Solar panels comprise of several individual solar cells which are themselves composed of layers of silicon, phosphorous (which provides the negative charge), and boron (which provides the positive charge).
- Solar panels absorb the photons and, in the process, generate an electric current. The energy thus generated from photons striking the surface of the solar panel allows electrons to be knocked out of their atomic orbits and released into the electric field generated by the solar cells which then pull these free electrons into a directional current. This entire process is known as the Photovoltaic Effect.
- To manufacture the more efficient monocrystalline wafer or cells, the doped silicon can be made into a pure solid crystal ingot using the Czochralski process. This process involves melting the polycrystalline silicon under high pressure and temperature to slowly grow a single monocrystalline crystal known as an ingot.
- Though electricity generation with solar panels may make sense to most people, there’s still a lot of general confusion about how the grid factors into the home solar process. Any home that is connected to the electrical grid will have something called a utility meter that your energy provider uses to measure and supply power to your home. When you install solar panels on your roof or on a ground mount on your property, they are eventually connected to your home’s utility meter. The production of your solar system can actually be accessed and measured by this meter.
The Benefits of Solar Panels
Using solar panels is a very practical way to produce electricity for many applications. The obvious would have to be off-grid living. Living off-grid means living in a location that is not serviced by the main electric utility grid. Remote homes and offices can benefit nicely from solar power systems. A solar electric system is potentially less expensive and can provide power for upwards of three decades if properly maintained.
Besides the fact that solar panels make it possible to live off-grid, perhaps the greatest benefit that one can enjoy from the use of solar power is that it is both a clean and a renewable source of energy. With the advent of global climate change, it has become more important that we do whatever we can to reduce the pressure on our atmosphere from the emission of greenhouse gases. Solar panels have no moving parts and require little maintenance. They are ruggedly built and last for decades if properly maintained.
Last, but not least, of the benefits of solar panels and solar power is that, once a system has paid for its initial installation costs, the electricity it produces for the remainder of the system’s lifespan, which could be as much as 15-20 years depending on the quality of the system, is absolutely free! It can be an extra source of income as if you are using less power then what is generated you could sell it and earn money.