Technology

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Seems solar panel is concurring the roof of every house. Can be considered as one of the most copious devices on our planet. But how do solar panels work?

The solar panel is quite an amazing technology with the ability to turn sunlight into electricity or heat. Actually, the solar panel is a collection of photovoltaic cells(photovoltaic cells straightforwardly means they convert sunlight into electricity) which can generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect. It works as by capturing the sun’s energy and turning it into electricity or heat.

Our heavenly light source or sun is a natural nuclear reactor which releases tiny packets of energy called photons. These photons are capable of traveling 93 million miles from the Sun to Earth in around 8.5 minutes. Every second every hour, photons smash our planet. Thus, we can take the advantages.

Many homeowners across the world are starting to look at solar as a feasible alternative energy solution. According to the report from the International Energy Agency, “Solar energy become the world’s fastest-growing source of power, creating for the first time its growth has outperformed that of every single other fuel.”

The most common type of solar panel used these days on homes and businesses are made of crystalline silicon. Silicon is a semiconductor that is the second most abundant element on Earth.

How silicon rock is processed to used in solar panel?

The silicon rock is melted and a small amount of a positive chemical element such as boron is added to the silicon to make sure the resulting silicon block or ingot has a positive potential. After the silicon has cooled for days and hardened, the ingot has been sliced into thin wafers.

The wafer is coated on a side with a negatively charged element such as phosphorus. Crystalline silicon is sandwiched between conductive layers. Each silicon atom is connected to its neighbors by four strong bonds, which keep the electrons in place so no current can flow.

The combination of the positive boron and fused silicon on one side and negative phosphorus on the other side creates two different layers of silicon, a positive-negative or P/N Junction. A negative or n-type silicon has extra electrons, and positive or p-type silicon has extra spaces for electrons, called holes. Where the two types of silicon meet, electrons can wander across the p/n junction, leaving a positive charge on one side and creating a negative charge on the other.

Image from Sunpower.

The photovoltaic effect wires are then painted onto the wafer providing a method to harness the flow of electricity. At this point, the wafer is a solar cell. It is the smaller unit of the solar panel.

When the photons, shooting out from the sun, strike the silicon cell with enough energy, it can knock an electron from its bond, leaving a hole. The negatively charged electron and location of the positively charged hole are now free to move around. But because of the electric field at the p/n junction, they’ll only go one way. The electron is drawn to the n-side, while the hole is drawn to the p-side.

The mobile electrons are collected by thin metal fingers at the top of the cell. From there, they flow through an external circuit, doing electrical work, like powering a light bulb, before returning through the conductive aluminum sheet on the back. And creates a direct current or DC flow. This current is measured in amps simultaneously a voltage potential is created between the two sides of the solar cells each solar cell is capable of generating about a half a volt.

DC electricity can’t power your home. So, on the back of each solar panel is an inverter. The most important thing to know about the inverter is that it converts DC electricity—the unusable kind of electricity—into alternating current (AC) electricity—the good stuff. AC electricity flows from the solar panels through efficient wires and cables into your net meter. And then it lights your house.

Electrons are the only moving parts in a solar cell, and they all go back where they came from. There’s nothing to get worn out or used up so solar cells can last for decades.

Source:

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