What Is a Solar Panel? How does a solar panel work?
A solar cell panel, solar electric panel, photovoltaic (PV) module, or simply a solar panel is a collection of photovoltaic cells installed in a framework. Solar panels generate direct current power by harnessing the energy of the sun. A collection of photovoltaic modules is referred to as a PV panel, and a collection ofis referred to as an array. A photovoltaic system’s arrays provide solar energy to electrical equipment.
Before we dive into the details of howfunction, let’s take a high-level look at how electricity is generated in solar panels:
Solar Energy Generation and Transmission in solar panel
- This happens when sunlight hits solar panels.
- The generated electricity flows to the panel’s edge and into a wire.
- The conductive line carries the DC electricity to the inverter, which converts it to AC to power buildings.
- Another wire carries the AC electricity from the inverter to the property’s electric panel (also known as a breaker box), which distributes it as needed.
How does a solar panel work?
Have you ever wondered what the solar panels on rooftops do and how they work? This sophisticated network of hi-tech glass panels utilizes the sun’s renewable energy to power a home.
Let’s look at how solar panels work in simple steps.
1. The panels are activated by sunlight
A layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing wrapped by a specific coating, and wiring make up each panel. The panels are arranged in “arrays” and placed on rooftops or other outdoor areas for maximum effect. Solar cells, commonly known as photovoltaic cells, absorb sunlight during the day.
2. The cells generate electricity
Each solar cell contains a thin silicon wafer comprised of two layers. In an electric field, one layer is positive and the other is negative. Photovoltaic solar cells are powered by sunlight, which energizes them and causes electrons to ‘pop’ from atoms within the semiconductor wafer. The electric field surrounding the chipsets loses electrons in motion, creating a current.
3. Conversion of electrical energy occurs
Your solar panels now efficiently convert sunlight into electricity, but the electricity generated is called direct current (DC), not alternating current (AC), which powers most homes. Fortunately, an inverter can simply convert DC electricity into AC electricity. Modern solar systems can have one large inverter or individual micro inverters mounted underneath the panels.
4. The converted electricity powers your home
After being converted from DC to AC, the solar energy is dispersed throughout your home to power your appliances. It works just like the electricity generated by your utility company’s grid, so nothing in your home needs to change. Because you’re still connected to the grid, you may automatically draw more electricity to make up for any solar shortfalls.
5. A net meter keeps track of usage
For example, if it’s cloudy or dark outside, your panels may not be able to collect enough sunlight to utilize for electricity, but if nobody is home, they may collect surplus energy. That’s why power coming to and from your home is measured by a meter. Utility companies in some countries are allowed to frequently credit you for surplus power you return to the grid. It’s called net metering.
Solar panels are used to convert light from the sun into electricity. Edmond Becquerel’s discovery of the photovoltaic effect led to the invention of the first genuine solar cell in 1893. Solar panels found their first mainstream use in space satellites. Solar panels collect clean renewable energy in the form of sunlight and convert that light into electricity. There are other types of solar power technologies too — including solar thermal and concentrated solar power (CSP) — that operate in a different fashion than photovoltaic solar panels, but all harness the power of sunlight to either create electricity or to heat water or air.