By now, most people know that solar energy — the inexhaustible fuel that generates no pollution, nor noise — is a truly magnificent thing. It’s no wonder why solar energy usage has increased by 20% annually for for the past 15 years.
Yet for as popular as solar energy is, few people actually know solar panels work. To help you become a more educated consumer of solar green energy, let’s explore the science of solar panels together.
Solar Panels Are Built From Photovoltaic Cells.
Solar panels are made up of small units called photovoltaic cells. These cells allow photons, the scientific name for particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, which then generates a flow of electricity. These photovoltaic solar panels are part of a larger type of solar technology known as active solar technology.
In Order to Work, Solar Panels Need to Have an Electric Field.
Each photovoltaic cell has two sides made up of a semi-conducting material, like silicon. Manufacturers apply other materials to each side so that one has a positive electrical charge, and a negative charge. This allows the solar panels to generate an electric field at the junction between the two layers. This way, when a photon knocks an electron free, the electric field will push this electron out of the silicon junction, which are then turned into usable power.
The Energy Is Then Collected and Transferred.
On the sides of the photovoltaic cells are metal conductive plats that collect and transfer the electrons to wires, which, at that point, can flow like any other source of electricity.
Basically, these remarkable pieces of energy saving technology work just like you thought they did. They collect solar energy, and then turn it into usable electricity. If you have any solar panel questions, feel free to ask in the comments.