With an increase in the demand and limitations of resources, the use of solar energy has become more of a necessity in present times. Moreover, new innovations and research are making it easier for everyone to use solar energy by fixing solar panels in their houses. The cost of solar panels is also going down with more and more manufacturers jumping into the market. It is not only energy efficient but also cost effective for people in the long run. Therefore, it is worth exploring about solar panels.
So how do solar panels work? Let us look at it in detail:
Functioning of a Solar Panel in simple words
To explain the functioning of a solar panel in simple words, it works by letting the particles of light or photons to hit the electrons that are free from atoms and that generate the flow of electricity. A solar panel has many, small units of photovoltaic cells that converts the sunlight into electricity. All these cells are joined together to make a solar panel.
Role of Photovoltaic Cells
As mentioned above, solar panel is made of multiple photovoltaic cells joined together. These cells are a sandwich that are made up of two semiconducting material, usually silicon in most cases, it is the same thing that is used in microelectronics.
How do Photovoltaic Cells work in a Solar Panel?
Featured Article By Mr. Sunil Rathi
The Photovoltaic cells establish an electric field in order to make it work. It is similar to magnetic field that occurs between two opposite electricity poles when opposite charges are separated. In order to get this electric field, the makers of solar panels “dope” other materials with silicon so that there can be a positive or a negative electrical charge.
To go into the specifications, a layer of phosphorous is injected into the top layer if silicon that adds some more electrons with negative charge to this layer. On the other side, some boron is inserted in the bottom layer that results in lesser electrons i.e. a positive charge. Hence, an electric field is formed at the junction in between the silicon layer sandwich. So, when the sunlight hits on the electron and set it free, the electric field pushes that electron out of the junction and thus electricity is produced.
There are also some other components in these solar cells that convert the electrons into power that can be used. They have metal conductive plates on each side of the cell that collect the electrons and instigate a transfer through wires and ensures that these electrons flow like any other form of electricity.
Types of Solar Panels
Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells
The solar panels with Monocrystalline solar cells have four sides that are cut out of the cylindrical ingots that makes the silicon wafers. This is what gives it a characteristic look. These panels have the highest level of efficiency because they are made of high quality silicon. They also give the best output in terms of power and our space-efficient. Moreover, they have the longest life amongst all other solar panels but are one of the most expensive ones available in the market. To see the down side, it requires high maintenance and if it gets covered in snow or dirt, the entire circuit might break down completely. These panels are very efficient in warm weather.
Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Cells
These are one of the first solar cells that were introduced to the market in the year 1981. In these solar panels, the solar cells have raw silicon melted and poured into the mold and is cooled so that they can be cut perfectly into square wafers. They are good because they are very cost effective and have slightly lower tolerance for heat than the monocrystalline solar panels. However, they have a lower space-efficiency as compared to monocrystalline solar panels.
Other types of Solar Cells:
Some other types of solar cells include string ribbon solar cells, Thin-Film Solar Cells (TFSC), Amorphous Silicon (a-Si) Solar Cells, Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Solar Cells, Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIS/CIGS) Solar Cells and Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). However, for the purpose of households, Monocrystalline Silicon Solar Cells and Polycrystalline Silicon Solar Cells are the most cost effective and easy to install ones.
Overall, there are plenty of solar panels available in the market but it is important to know about their functionings before you opt for the perfect one for yourself.
Author Bio: Sunil Rathi Director – sales & marketing WAAREE Energies Ltd
Mr. Sunil Rathi is an assiduous, inquisitively power electronics engineer with an exceptional Sales and Marketing knowledge backed by a degree of MBA. He has a robust record of expertise acquired over 24 years in Solar Energy and Power Electronics Industry. His proven strategic vision facilitated in firmly establishment of the brand and himself as a stalwart in the solar industry.