How does a Solar Panel Work?

Solar Panel

As the amount of people owning a solar panel goes up, more and more people are doing research about them, but many people who own them and those who want to own them do not have an idea about how they actually work. Here, we will try to explore this point in a simple way.


The Science behind a Panel

Solar panels work using the photovoltaic effect, and do so using silicon much like computers. When silicon is stripped down, it is ideal for the transmission of electrons – the backbone behind how solar panels work. When they’re not charged, silicon atoms only carry four electrons, but they can carry eight when charged. When combined with elements found in sunlight, the solar plates combine through conductive wires to allow the passing of currents between panels.

Without photons (found in sunlight) these panels wouldn’t charge. The silicon atom carries nine electrons when it connects with sunlight, but it only has space for eight. The particle ‘drops’ the negative electron, which circulates until it’s picked up by a positive electrode, which generates charge in the panel. The atom can remain undamaged for a long time, which is why this form of energy is so durable.

To summarise,


Recent Designs

Obviously, as time progresses, the technology behind solar panels will continue to get better and better. One of the most recent developments goes some way to solve the issue that one cell does not generate a lot of electricity, which often means that in order to be affective for a small house, a whole roof full of panels is required. These newer panels include concentrators (mirrors) that reflect the light into a series of smaller cells.

The best achieved sunlight conversion rate at the moment is just over 20% (in those sold commercially.) This may not sound like a lot and the reality is that it is not, but this is much improved.

If you have been looking at solar panels in Ipswich or solar panels in Brisbane, then you would have noticed that the technology involved behind a single solar panel cell is mind bogging. One thing is for sure, in another decade the technology behind solar panels will be a lot different from how we see them today.