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The Science Behind Solar Panels – How do Solar Panels Work?

Last edited: 18/02/21

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The Science Behind Solar Panels – How do Solar Panels Work?

Last edited: 18/02/21

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The sun marks the beginning of solar energy. Solar panels are also referred to as PV panels. They are used to convert light from the sun, which is made up of photons – particles of energy, into electricity that can be utilised to power electrical loads.

Solar panels can be utilised for a range of applications, including remote sensing, telecommunications equipment, remote power systems for cabins, and of course, the production of electricity by commercial and residential solar electric systems. If the thought of buying some of the best solar panels has consumed you, learning how solar panels work will greatly help you. Read on then.

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels gather clean, renewable energy in the form of sunlight and convert that light into electricity, which can then be used to provide power for electrical loads. Solar panels are made up of various individual solar cells that are themselves composed of boron (that provides the positive charge), phosphorus (that provides the negative charge), and silicon layers. The photons are absorbed by the solar panels, allowing the panels to produce an electric current. The resulting energy produced from photons that strike the surface of the solar panels permits electrons to be knocked out of their atomic orbits and subsequently released into the electric field that the solar cells generate. This field then pulls these electrons into a directional current. This entire process is referred to as the photovoltaic effect. On average, a single house has enough roof area to accommodate the required number of solar panels to generate sufficient solar electricity to meet its electrical needs. The excess power generated goes onto the main power grid, paying off in electricity for use at night.

In a balanced grid-connected configuration, solar energy produces power during the day that is then used in the home at night. The net metering programs enable the owners of the solar generator to get paid if their solar system generates more power than their home uses. In the charge controller, a battery bank, off-grid solar applications, and in many instances, an inverter are important components. The power is then harvested from the battery bank to the inverter that converts DC into AC current that can be utilised for non-DC appliances. In conjunction with an inverter, solar panel arrays can be sized to cater to the most demanding electrical load requirements. The AC current can be used to power loads in SCADA, RTU, oil, and gas flow monitoring, telecommunications equipment, homes, cottages, remote cabins, recreational boats and vehicles, commercial buildings, and much more.

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Russell White

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