Solar Panels: How Do They Work?

Solar panels have always been considered as a promising alternative energy source for many decades now. We are now witnesses to a broad application of Solar panels Central Coast by MV Solar in homes, businesses, schools, etc. Yes, solar panels crown roofs and are in road signs. They help keep cars, boats, aircraft and even spacecraft powered. But how do solar panels work?

Solar Panels Central Coast A solar panel works by permitting light particles or photons from atoms to release electrons and generate a flow of electricity. Solar panels are an array of several smaller units called photovoltaic cells, (photovoltaic: “light+ electricity”, meaning they convert sunlight into electricity). In short, several photovoltaic cells are joined together to form a solar panel.

Each photovoltaic cell is a sandwich composed of two slices of semiconductor material, usually silicon, the same material used in microelectronics.

Photovoltaic cells work when an electric field is established. Like a magnetic field which happens due to opposite poles, an electric field occurs when different oppositely charged materials are separated. To achieve this field, the manufacturers add other elements or substances to silicon, giving each slice of the sandwich a positive or negative electrical charge.

Specifically, phosphorus is planted in the top layer of silicon, which adds more electrons that are negatively charged to that layer. Meanwhile, the lower layer gets a dose of boron, resulting in fewer electrons, or a positive charge. All this is results in an electric field at the junction between the silicon layers. Then, when a photon of sunlight hits a free electron, the electric field will push that electron out of the silicon junction.

A couple of other components in the cell convert these electrons into usable energy. The conductive metal plates on the sides of the cell collect the particles and transfer them to the wires.  That is when particles can flow like any other source of electricity.

Recently, researchers have produced ultra-thin, flexible solar cells that are only 1.3 microns thick, about 1/100 the width of a human hair— and are 20 times lighter than an office sheet of paper. The cells are as light as a feather that they can be propped on top of a soap bubble, yet they produce energy as efficiently as the glass solar panels Central Coast by MV Solar. Lighter and more flexible solar cells like these could be much more easily integrated into architecture, aerospace technology or even portable electronics.