How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar power harnesses the sun’s energy, and quietly but effectively turns it into electricity for you to use at your home or business. The sun is a natural nuclear reactor, and it gives off tiny bursts of energy (known as photons) that travel down to Earth. When these photons hit a solar cell, they essentially knock electrons loose from their atoms. If conductors are attached to the positive and negative sides of a cell, then it will form an electrical circuit. When electrons flow through such a circuit, they can generate electricity! There are multiple cells inside your average solar panel, and multiple solar panels can even be wired together to form a kind of solar farm. The more panels you can have at your home or business, then more energy you can expect to generate as a result!

Australia is one of the sunniest countries in the world, which makes it the perfect location to convert photons into electricity.

Photovoltaic Effect Explained

Solar panels are made up of many smaller units, known as photovoltaic cells. A large number of  cells linked together make up a solar panel, and each photovoltaic cell is basically a sandwich made up of two slices of semiconducting material wrapped around a key component. Photovoltaic cells need to establish an electric field in order to operate, and an electric field occurs when opposite charges are separated. To get this field, manufacturers combine silicon with other materials, to provide each slice of the sandwich with either a positive or negative electrical charge.

Components of a Solar Panel

Solar panels are made up of many solar cells in various types of glass packaging. Solar cells are made of silicon, and are constructed with a positive layer and a negative layer as mentioned above. This together creates an electric field, similar to the internal makeup of a functioning battery. Most solar panels are also covered with conductive adhesives and proprietary encapsulants to help protect these cells and minimise degradation.

How Solar Panels Generate Electricity

Solar panels generate direct current (DC) electricity. With DC electricity, electrons flow in one direction around a circuit. When the sun shines onto a solar panel, photons from the sunlight are absorbed by the cells in the panel, which creates an electric field across the layers and causes electricity to flow. This DC electricity is then converted to AC for use all around your home or business.

Steps for Generating Solar Electricity in Your Home:

  • Investigate your home’s energy efficiency
  • Assess your solar potential and any limitations
  • Assess your options for going solar
  • Estimate your solar electricity needs
  • Obtain bids and site assessments from contractors
  • Understand available financing and incentives
  • Work with your installer and utility to install the system and set up agreements

Understanding some of the key features of solar panels can help you to make the most informed choice when it comes to picking the best source of energy for your home or business. Solar panels are a sustainable choice that is kinder to the planet, and it’s worth noting that the sun is certainly a long lasting resource that won’t run out any time soon! There’s no time like the present to explore solar panel installation so that you can gain many advantages before you know it.

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