What is a solar panel and how does it work

By | 23 July 2020

Solar panels are a kind of devices that are also known as PV(photovoltaic)  panels. Solar panels are used to take in sun’s rays and convert them into heat and electricity. Many scientist calls this solar panel as Photovoltaic  which basically means Light-electricity. A Solar panel contains number of solar cells in it which can be used to generate electricity through photovoltaic. The cells are arranged in a grid-like pattern on the surface of the solar panels. Most Solar panels are made up of by using crystalline silicon solar cells.

Stay  with us to know more about solar panels

How does a solar panel works

Smaller units of solar panels are called solar cells. The most common solar cells are made from silicon, a semi-conductor that is the 2nd most abundant element on earth. In a Solar cell crystal and silicon is closely packed between conductive layers. Each silicon atom is connected to its neighbor by four strong bonds which keep the electrons in place. So no current can flow.

For an example:  Silicon Solar cells are held with two different layers of silicon. Like an N type silicon has extra electrons and P type silicon has extra spaces for electrons called holes. Where the two type of silicon meet an electron can wonder across the P/N junction, leaving a positive charge on one side and creating a negative charge on the other.

You can think of a light as the flow of tiny particles called Photons, shooting out from the sun. When one of the photons strikes the silicon cells with enough energy it can knock an electron from its bond, leaving a hole. The electrons with negatively charged and positively charged hole are now free to move.

But because of the electron field at the P/N junction they will only go on one way. The electron is moved to the inside while the hole is moved to the P side. The mobile electrons are collected by thin metal fingers at the top of the cells. From there they flow through an external circuit doing an electrical- work like- powering a light bulb.

Before returning through the conductive Aluminum sheet on the back, each silicon cell only boost out half a volt but you can string them together in models to get more power. 12 photovoltaic cells are enough to charge a cell-phone.  But many modules are needed to power an entire house.

 Perhaps electrons are the only moving parts in a Solar panel cells. And they all go back from where they came from. There is nothing to get more now or used up. So, Solar cells can last for decades.

Types of  Solar Panel: 

Solar energy is a renewable and free source of energy. This form of energy is sustainable and inexhaustible. Solar panels are a great source of renewable energy as they convert sunlight directly into electricity. This is done by the arrangement of multiple solar cells.

There are different types of Solar panels. But most common and special types of Solar panels are: Monocrystalline Solar panels, Polycrystalline Solar panels, Thin-film Solar panels.

Characteristics of  Monocrystalline Solar Panels:

The cells of monocrystalline solar panels are made with silicon wafers. In these panels the cells are cut from a single piece of pure silicon crystal. The cells are neatly arranged in rows and columns to form a rectangle. Monocrystalline solar panels are covered with glass sheets and then framed.

These solar are usually black in color. These solar panels have the highest efficiency in terms of generating electricity. They are really expensive because the solar panels are made from a single silicon crystal.  Monocrystalline Solar panels are manufactured by the pure variety of silicon.

 These panels can last for about 25 years. Monocrystalline solar panels are ideal for small rooftops and they work best in high temperatures and shaded areas.

Characteristics of Polycrystalline Solar Panels:

The solar cells of these solar panels are made with silicon wafers. Small fragments of silicon crystals are melted together and then cut into wafers. Polycrystalline solar panels have a bluish color. These panels are highly cost-effective. Poly-silicon is used to manufacture polycrystalline solar panels.

Polycrystalline solar panels have a grainy appearance. This type of solar panel is most popular all around the world. They have much lower price than Monocrystalline solar panels although they have less efficient than Monocrystalline solar panels.

Characteristics of Thin-film Solar Panels:

Thin-film solar panels are portable and flexible. These panels are light in weight, it is made of materials like: Cadmium-Telluride, Amorphous Silicon, Copper Indium Gallium Selenide. Thin-film is the slimmest type of solar panel.  They have the shortest life span.

It is good for projects with less power requirement. These panels are usually installed in areas where space is not a constraint. They are easy to produce and flexible and have relatively low costs.

How to Install Solar Panels at Home

The most common location for installing a solar PV panels is on the roof. Roofs typically have the desired specifications for installing a solar panel, so that panels can get the maximum sunlight.

Read the following steps for installing a solar panel on a roof 

  1. At first you have to erect scaffolding to ensure safety during the whole installation process while being on the roof.
  2. Then the solar panel mounting system has to be set up as this will support the base of the solar panels. To have the maximum sunlight the whole mounting must be tilted at an angle between 18 to 36 degrees.
  3. The solar panel has to be installed on the mounting structure when the mounts are set up. Don’t forget to tighten up all the bolts and nuts so that it stays stable.
  4. The next process is to install electrical wiring. Mostly MC4 connectors are used as they are suited for all types of solar panels.
  5. Then the solar inverter must be connected to the system, it is installed near the main panel and it could be both indoors and outdoors. Inverters are more efficient if they are kept in a cooler place.
  6. The solar inverter has to be connected to the solar battery.
  7. Then inverter is connected to the consumer unit to generate electricity. And a generation meter is also connected to observe the amount of electricity the solar panels produce. To check your solar system’s performance you can use your computer or any other electrical device.
  8. The last step is to switch the power on and test the newly installed solar panel system. And then the solar panel installation process is completed.

Solar Panel manufacturers:

Solar photovoltaics stand as the fastest growing energy technology in the world. There are many manufacturing companies in the world where they produce Solar panels. But not all the countries produce the best Solar panels.

Manufacturers like the China and Taiwan holds the place as the majority producing solar panel modules. Then comes the rest of the countries as manufacturers.

Conclusion:

Now-a-days Solar panels are being used all around. Solar panels are expensive but they can work for a long period of time. They can definitely solve the problem of generating electricity. Solar energy has the capacity to provide all of the energy we need. Therefore we can say that in future solar panels can solve the problems for our energy demands.