How do solar panels work?

The awareness of the dwindling reserves of fossil fuels and the environmental hazards caused by them have made the world turn towards the conservative energy resources. And the solar energy tops the list of those viable sources.

Solar powered electronic appliances have been in use for many years. The solar energy is converted into electricity by solar panels. They are found in many places, from a small calculator to the International Space Station.

The solar panels work on the same principles of electronics that govern batteries or other energy storing devices. The basic element of a panel is silicon, the same element that was the reason for computer boom. Pure silicon is an ideal platform for the transmission of electrons. The atom of silicon has four electrons in their outer shell; that means they need four more to complete their shell. When two silicon atoms come in contact, they share their electrons to make both of their shells filled and it creates a strong bond between them, but without any charge. Since two plates of pure silicon would not generate electricity as there is no charge, the plates of solar panel are made by combining silicon with other elements that have positive or negative charge.

Various elements are used to make the panels including phosphorus and boron. If one plate is made with phosphorus and silicon, the next one is made of boron and silicon.

Phosphorus has 5 electrons in its outer shell. When it is combined with silicon, it results in a stable 8-electron configuration with an additional electron. This creates a negatively charged plate. When boron is combined with silicon, it results in a positively charged plate since boron has only 3 electrons in its outer shell. These two opposite charged plates are sandwiched together in solar panels, with conducive wires running between them.

The sun emits its energy mainly in the form of a particle named photon. Photons have both particle and wave properties. When the panels are pointed towards the sunlight at a certain angle, the incoming photons collide with the silicon and phosphorus atoms in the panels. The impact from this collision renders the additional electron free. The positively charged plates attract the free electrons and electricity is formed in the panel. Since there are many atoms and electrons in a panel, the process creates a fair amount of electricity.

The major problem about solar panels is the small amount of energy when compared to the size of the panels. The collision rate of photons also affects its productivity.

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
Renogy Solar Panel 160 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline, 160W Mono
WindyNation 200 Watt (2pcs 100 Watt) Solar Panel Kit with 1500W VertaMax Power Inverter for RV, Boat, Off-Grid 12 Volt Battery Systems
GVSHINE [30W Panel Foldable] Solar Panel Lighting Kit, Solar Home DC System Kit for Emergency, Hurricane, Power Outage with 4 USB Solar Charger LED Light Bulb and 5 Cellphone Charger/5V 2A Output

 

Renogy Solar Panel 160 Watt

The 160-Watt Rengoy Solar Panel features a multi-layered sheet lamination which ensures both long service life and enhanced performance of the cells. The solar modules are El tested, and the product is guaranteed to have no hot-spot heating. Furthermore, the product includes bypass diodes that help minimize power drops due to shade and ensures that it is able to provide excellent performance in environments that contain low light. The rear of the product features a Tpt sheet that helps dissipate heat to ensure smooth performance for years to come. The exterior of the solar panel is constructed from aluminum, which is corrosion-resistant, whereas the glass is anti-reflective, impact-resistant, low iron-tempered with enhanced stiffness. Lastly, the junction box is IP65 rated, providing sufficient protection against particles in the environment along with pre-drilled holes that can be used to mount the solar panel.

WindyNation 200 Watt (2pcs 100 Watt) Solar Panel Kit

The Windy Nation 200 Watt Complete Solar Charging Kit with VertaMax 1500 Watt Power Inverter kit includes everything you need to produce free and clean energy from the sun. This is perfect for off-grid, boats, RV’s, and cabins that need an uninterrupted supply of power. Included in this solar power kit are two 100 Watt Polycrystalline Solar Panel, 40 ft. of UL Listed 12 AWG Solar Cable, 30 amp P30L Solar Charge Controller w/ LCD display, solar mounting hardware,  and 1500 Watt (3000 Watt surge) VertaMax Modified Sine Wave DC to AC Power Inverter with two pieces   2AWG Battery Cables (measures 3 feet each) to be used in connecting the inverter to a 12 volts battery. It features a 1500 Watt VertaMax Inverter as well that provides safer and cleaner electricity to several AC-run household appliances. On average, it can produce  800 Watt Hours (Wh) or equivalent to 67 Amp hours of power per charging cycle. You don’t need to buy other components from other vendors because this solar charging kit is already complete.

GVShine Solar Panel Lightning Kit

GVShine offers its customers a chance to get their hands on a solar panel lighting kit that will ensure the supply of electricity even during hurricanes and snowstorms etc. Being a totally independent off-grid power system, this solar panel lightning kit combines lighting and charging with high transparency and anti-reflective technology. Thanks to its high waterproof grade, the GVShine solar panel lightning kit is multi-purpose, meaning it can be mounted on a curved roof, boat, truck, travel trailer, and tent, etc. and can withstand extreme weather conditions. Finally, the system features multiple outlets for charging your digital devices as well as powering several LED bulbs.