How solar panel works.

Touted as a promising alternative energy source for decades, solar panels crown rooftops and roadside signs and help keep spacecraft powered. But how do solar panels work?

Simply put, a solar panel works by allowing photons, or particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity. Solar panels actually comprise many, smaller units called photovoltaic cells. (Photovoltaic simply means they convert sunlight into electricity.) Many cells linked together make up a solar panel.

Each photovoltaic cell is basically a sandwich made up of two slices of semi-conducting material, usually silicon — the same stuff used in microelectronics.

To work, photovoltaic cells need to establish an electric field. Much like a magnetic field, which occurs due to opposite poles, an electric field occurs when opposite charges are separated. To get this field, manufacturers “dope” silicon with other materials, giving each slice of the sandwich a positive or negative electrical charge.

Specifically, they seed phosphorous into the top layer of silicon, which adds extra electrons, with a negative charge, to that layer. Meanwhile, the bottom layer gets a dose of boron, which results in fewer electrons, or a positive charge. This all adds up to an electric field at the junction between the silicon layers. Then, when a photon of sunlight knocks an electron free, the electric field will push that electron out of the silicon junction.

A couple of other components of the cell turn these electrons into usable power. Metal conductive plates on the sides of the cell collect the electrons and transfer them to wires. At that point, the electrons can flow like any other source of electricity.

Recently, researchers have produced ultrathin, flexible solar cells that are only 1.3 microns thick — about 1/100th the width of a human hair — and are 20 times lighter than a sheet of office paper. In fact, the cells are so light that they can sit on top of a soap bubble, and yet they produce energy with about as much efficiency as glass-based solar cells, scientists reported in a study published in 2016 in the journal Organic electronics Lighter, more flexible solar cells such as these could be integrated into architecture, aerospace technology, or even wearable electronics.

There are other types of solar power technology — 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.

2 comments on “How solar panel works.”

  1. Dear Sir,

    Greetings from Salt Lake Institute of Engineering & Management Limited!!!

    With regards to the placement support, I am here with sharing company proposal for your reference:

    We SLIEM Skills Ltd, group of IEM (Institute of Engineering & Management) doing various Skills Development programme under State Level and National Level as well.

    Based on the placement support at Zero cost, we would like to provide good opportunity to our skilled students. We started Suryamitra program from 2017 and currently running with 13 batches of ITI & Diploma students PAN India centres this quarter 1 (April to June 2019).

    This Training gives solar knowledge along with Class room Theory, hands on Expertise, Soft Skills, Grooming, Motivation, Industry Expert session etc. This is Three month (around 600 hour) training, SCGJ certification and Placement regulated by NISE (National Institute of Solar Energy). Please get back for any query at 7044056240 for their placement support PAN India location(s) including Jharkhand state.

    These students are undergoing solar training and looking for good opportunity with Renewal Energy projects. They will be ready from next month itself.

    Below mentioned subjects are going through in their module given mentioned below:-

    1. Site Survey
    2. Safety & Precaution
    3. Load Calculation
    4. Designing, Installation, Testing, Commissioning
    5. House Wring
    6. Maintenance
    7. Fabrication (Mounting Structure)

    We would like to hear your words regarding placement for these students. Please get back.

    Aside, We would like to invite you and or other respective(s) at our Tata Steel Jamshedpur batch (head count 30) for few hours Industry Expert Session.

    Also I would like to meet you at your office premises for good hope for student placement support if any in Future.
    Thanks again.

    Subhash Chakraborty

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *