Solar panels and how they work
“What is a Solar Panel?”
solar panel also known as “PV panel” is a device that converts light from the sun, which is composed of particles of energy called “photons”, into electricity that can be used to power electrical loads.
Solar panels can be used for a wide variety of applications including , telecommunications equipment, Water Pumps for irrigation or household use and of course for the production of electricity by residential and commercial solar electric systems.
We will discuss the history, technology, and benefits of solar panels. We will learn how solar panels work, how they are made, how they create electricity,
History of Solar Panel
The history of solar panels can be traced back to the 19th century when the photovoltaic effect was first discovered by French physicist Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel in 1839. The photovoltaic effect refers to the process by which certain materials can generate an electrical current when exposed to sunlight
However, it was not until the mid-20th century that the first practical solar cells were developed. In 1954, Bell Labs produced the first silicon solar cell, which was capable of converting sunlight into electricity with an efficiency of 6 percent. This breakthrough led to the development of the first solar panels for use in space exploration.
During the 1960s and 1970s, advances in solar cell technology led to the development of larger, more efficient solar panels for use on Earth. These early solar panels were expensive and primarily used for remote power applications, such as powering satellites and lighthouses.
In the 1980s, the price of solar panels began to decline due to advancements in manufacturing processes and increased demand for renewable energy sources. This led to the widespread adoption of solar panels for residential and commercial use.
Today, solar panels are used in a variety of applications, from powering homes and businesses to providing electricity to remote areas without access to a traditional power grid. Advances in solar cell technology have also led to the development of more efficient and cost-effective solar panels, making solar energy an increasingly viable option for meeting our energy needs.
Solar Panel Types
There are three main types of solar panels:
These are made from a single crystal of silicon and are the most efficient type of solar panel available. They have a higher power output and take up less space than other types of solar panels.
These are made from a thin layer of photovoltaic material (such as amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, or copper indium gallium selenide) and are the least efficient type of solar panel. However, they are also the least expensive and can be a good option for large-scale installations where cost is a major factor. Thin-film solar panels are also more flexible than other types of solar panels and can be used in a wider range of applications
These are made from multiple crystals of silicon and are less efficient than monocrystalline solar panels. However, they are also less expensive and can be a good option for those on a budget.
How does a solar panel work?
Solar panels collect 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.
They are comprised of several individual solar cells which are themselves composed of layers of silicon, phosphorous (which provides the negative charge), and boron (which provides the positive charge). They absorb the photons and in doing so initiate an electric current. The resulting energy generated from photons striking the surface of the solar panel allows electrons to be knocked out of their atomic orbits and released into the electric field generated by the solar cells which then pull these free electrons into a directional current. This entire process is known as the Photovoltaic Effect. An average home has more than enough roof area for the necessary number of solar panels for producing enough solar energy to supply all of its power.
Benefits of using solar panels
Renewable and sustainable:
Solar energy is a renewable resource, which means that it is virtually limitless and will never run out. It is also sustainable, as it does not emit harmful pollutants or contribute to climate change.
By generating your own electricity with solar panels, you can become less reliant on traditional energy sources and reduce your carbon footprint.
While the initial cost of installing solar panels can be expensive, the long-term savings can be significant. Solar energy can greatly reduce or even eliminate your electricity bills, and the cost of solar panels has been decreasing in recent years
Solar panels require very little maintenance, as they have no moving parts and are designed to last for many years.
Frequent cleaning is recommended to increase efficiency from the dust that block the suns arrays from reaching the solar panels.
Solar energy can be used in a wide variety of applications, from powering homes and businesses to providing electricity to remote locations and powering satellites in space