How do Solar Panels Work?

In the middle ages, people known as alchemists attempted to convert lead into gold in hopes of making their fortune. In today’s time, 21st century science hasn’t brought us that far yet, but we are able to do some pretty amazing things. For example, one scientific wonder, solar panels, can convert the sun’s energy to electricity that will power your home or business. How exactly does this work?

It Starts with the Sun

The sun releases an incredible amount of energy. In fact, it is estimated that every hour the sun gives off enough energy to power the entire world for an entire year. This energy comes to the earth through particles of light known as photons. These photons not only keep the earth warm and well-lit, but they can be converted to energy through solar panels.

The Structure of a Solar Panel

The conversion process happens through what is called a photovoltaic cell. Each solar panel consists of a silicon, non-reflective glass casing, insulation, and a solar inverter among other things. The photovoltaic cell itself consists of silicon sandwiched together between pieces of conductive material. Additionally, the silicon is stacked in sheets, tightly held together by positive and negative electrons. When photons from sunlight hit the silicon panels, the electron bonds come apart, leaving the electrons free to flow. This begins the flow of energy.

The Production of Energy

The mobile electrons are drawn to one side of the panel because of their charges. They are then collected in metal fingers to run in a circuit. This electrical circuit is the energy that powers the solar panel. In the end, the electrons follow the circuit and bond back in their original position. This means that solar panels can be reused over and over again without wearing down—an incredible advantage to using solar power. This is the beauty of photovoltaic cells.

A single cell can only convert about 0.5 volts, but combined in a solar panel multiple cells can power an entire home. Amazing!

However, the energy produced runs on direct current (DC), while homes or businesses run on alternating current (AC). Thus, another feature of solar panels is the solar inverter. These inverters are the brains of the solar panel, converting DC to AC, tracking the stats on voltage, and ensuring maximum power output for your home or business.

Solar panels aren’t turning lead into gold, but they are using science to help the world become a more sustainable place. Through a simple process, solar panels are using an abundant resource—the power of the sun—to harness energy that could power the world.

Interested in Solar Panels? Give us a Call!

If this amazing process interests you, contact CRJ Contractors to find out how you can take part in the phenomenon that is solar energy. We provide 100% FREE solar consultations to homeowners and businesses for solar panel installation. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment!