Alright, let’s get the ball rolling and tell you about the actual process of converting solar energy into electricity.
A solar panel is made up of several solar cells which are also known as Photovoltaic cells, the acronym used for it is (PV). Basically photo means light and voltaic means electricity, these are the cells which convert sunlight directly to electricity. Solar cell functions according to the same principles which are used in any chemical battery or even electrical outlet. A solar panel is simply a bunch of these photovoltaic cells connected together and are properly packed up in a frame.
Solar panel functions by accumulating photons coming from the sun in the form of sunlight and convert them to direct current (DC) which is electrical power. This DC current is then converted into Alternating current (AC) by using an inverter; this is the type of current that is used in home appliances.
These photovoltaic cells are prepared of the same material that is used in the making of semiconductors which is silicon. If all the impurities are stripped off from silicon than it becomes the most ultimate substance for the transmission of electrons. When sunlight hits a photovoltaic cell it is immersed inside the silicon semiconductor. That immersed sunlight energy is transferred to semiconductor making the electrons go loose and flow freely.
The electric field within the PV cells makes the electrons flow in a particular direction. This flow is known as a current. Metal plates are arranged at the top and bottom of these photovoltaic cells this is what actually provides us the current for external use.
One of the most important considerations is the functioning of silicon as it plays the most important part in converting solar energy into electricity. Silicon has four electrons in its outer most shell, but it does have the capacity to carry eight electrons in the outermost shell. These four electrons are shared with surrounding silicon atoms making a strong and stable bond, which is also known as pure crystalline silicon.
When silicon is combined with any element that has five electrons like phosphorous, a negative charge is created. Since the outer shell can take only four electrons it leaves one behind which carries current. But if is combined with element that has only three electrons it would create a positive charge. Such differences in charges are used to use and convert sunlight to functional electricity in solar panels.
As photons come through the sunlight, the electrons from the combined material of phosphorous and silicon is pushed into the outer most shell. And from that outer most shell they are taken into the boron and silicon outer most shell. This is the whole process which takes place in a solar panel when it is converting solar energy into electricity.
Pre-made solar panels are expensive, but did you know you can produce affordable solar power on your own by making your own solar energy panels? Check out the step-by-step instructions on how to do it here.