How Do Solar Panels Work?

How Do Solar Panels Work
The Basic Principles

How Do Solar Panels Work

We have been using solar powered products such as the solar calculators or even that of the international space station, but it is not often that most of us stop and think for ourselves; how does a solar panel work?

Solar panels produce electricity with the same principle as the conventional electrical outlet and chemical batteries. It's a simple principle of the free flowing electrons through a closed loop circuit.

A basic understanding of how do solar panels work is just a review of our high school chemistry class.

Silicon is the basic element of the solar panels, the same element that contributes to the evolution of computers. When this silicon is cleaned from all its impurities, it serves as an ideal platform for the electrons transmission. Moreover, it has some properties that are atomic-level, making it more captivating for the production of solar panels.

In the chemistry subject, we learned that silicon has space for eight electrons but can carry only four in its natural state. A strong bond will then be created if one silicon atom meets another silicon atom receiving each four electrons. There is no negative or positive charge because the needs of the atoms had been satisfied. This combination takes years to come up with a large part of pure silicon and this is used to make plates for the solar panels.

However these two plates of silicon will never produce electricity because they have no charge at all. The silicon must then be combined with other elements to create positive and negative charges.

For instance, if it combines with an element containing five electrons like the phosphorus, negative charge will then be created because the silicon can take only the four electrons, allowing one free electron to look for a vacant spot. These additional electrons carry with the electrical current and are termed as free carriers. But when silicon is combined with Boron which has three free electrons, a positive charge and holes will be created.

The combination of silicon to elements of phosphorous and boron producing different charges are utilized in making solar panels. Sunlight emits photons and it shakes up everything when it strikes the silicon.

Free electrons that are hanging on the combination of silicon and phosphorous are now pulled to the outer ring. Then, it was absorbed to the outer ring of the combination silicon-boron. Electricity will then be created by these actions of electrons.One of the main concerns with regards to solar panels is the less amount of electricity that they produce compared to their sizes.

For instance, a calculator may only require a single cell, but a car that is solar powered may demand several thousands. Caution must be taken because if the angle of solar panels is even slightly changed, there will be a drop of 50% in its efficiency.

Chemical batteries can then serve as the storage of power for some solar panels, but usually there is no excess power. The same sunlight that is the source of photons is also emitting destructive ultraviolet and infrared waves which commonly the cause of physical degradation of the solar panels. Exposure of the solar panels to the destructive weather conditions can also lead to serious effect in its efficiency.

The challenge then to the future scientists is to create a more efficient solar panels that are lightweight and small enough but powerful to generate excess energy when there is no availability of sunlight.

After you know how do solar panels work, don't you think it's the time for you to build your own solar panel?

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