Solar Panels – Just How Do They Work?

Posted by Solar Expert on December 30, 2013

Solar Panel Technology can sound quite Technical

Solar Panels Just How Do They Work

The technology behind successfully harnessing the energy from the sun has been improved dramatically over the last decade. For an in-depth technical explanation of how it works, we recommend our favorite expert in all things solar, NASA.

Solar Panel Technology in a Nutshell

Solar Panels Just How Do They WorkFor the vast majority of us, an in-depth study isn’t needed. We all understand how the bright sun can warm our face, even in winter. We’ve all had a sunburn. We understand that plants take in light energy during photosynthesis.

Let’s take a simpler look at how light energy from the sun becomes electricity for our homes.

The most critical element of a solar panel is the photovoltaic cell. These cells are aligned within the solar panel for maximum exposure to the sun.

When sunlight strikes the surface of a photovoltaic cell, this electrical field provides momentum and direction to light-stimulated electrons, resulting in a flow of current when the solar cell is connected to an electrical load.

Solar PanelPhotovoltaic cells are made of special materials called semiconductors, like silicon. When sunlight strikes the solar cell, a percentage of their solar energy is absorbed into the semiconductor material.

This energy is now inside the semiconductor. The energy knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely. PV cells also have one or more electric fields that force electrons, freed by light absorption, to flow in a certain direction.

This flow of electrons is an electrical current. Metal contacts on the top and bottom of the PV cell draw current off which is used to power external electrical loads by way of a power inverter. Battery storage systems can also be interfaced to store excess power.

Contact DFW Solar Electric today to find out more details and how a residential or commercial solar electric system can provide an environmentally-friendly source of electricity for years to come!


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