Saturday, August 7, 2021

How solar panels work?

7:26 PM |

Solar energy is the most abundant source of energy on Earth. By capturing the sun’s energy and turning it into electricity for our home or business, solar energy can be key solution in combating the current climate crisis and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

To capture this free and unlimited source of energy we need some device or appliance. And this required device is the solar panel. In this blog we will discuss how solar panels work, the working principle behind it and many more things. So let us start.

Working principle of Solar photovoltaic cells

Before we know how a solar panel works let us have a look at the basic working principle of a solar PV cells. Solar PV panels are comprised of many small photovoltaic cells (photovoltaic means they can convert sunlight into electricity).

When sunlight hits the semiconductor in the solar PV cell the energy from the light, in the form of photons, is absorbed, causing a number of electrons to loose, which then drift freely in the cell. The solar cell is specifically designed with positively and negatively charged semiconductors sandwiched together to create an electric field.

This electric field forces the drifting electrons to flow in a certain direction- towards the conductive metal plates that line the cell. Once the loose electrons hit metal plates, the current is then directed into wires, allowing the electrons to flow like they would in any other source of electricity. Multiple cells make up a solar panel, and multiple panels can be wired together to form a solar array.

What are Solar Panels Made of?

Photovoltaic solar panels are made up of many solar cells. Solar cells are made of silicon like semiconductors. They are constructed with a positive layer and a negative layer, which together create an electric field, just like in a battery.

How actually a solar panel works?

When sunlight hits the solar panels it generates an electric current, which flows through a series of wires to an inverter. The inverter’s function is to turn the electricity from DC to AC, making it accessible for everyday use. Along with inverting DC to AC power, inverter also provide ground fault protection, including voltage and current on AC and DC circuits, energy production and maximum power point tracking.

After the electricity is transformed into AC power, it is then sent from the inverter to the electrical panel also known as breaker box, and distributed throughout the building as needed. The electricity is then available to power lights, appliances, and other electrical devices with solar energy.

Any electricity that is not consumed via the breaker box is sent to the utility grid through the utility meter. Utility meter measures the flow of electricity from the grid to the property and vice versa.

A typical grid-tied PV system, during peak daylight hours, frequently produces more energy than one customer needs, so that excess energy is fed back into the grid for use elsewhere. The customer who is eligible for net metering may receive credits for the excess energy produced and can use those credits to draw from the grid at night or on cloudy days.

A net meter records the energy sent compared to the energy received from the grid. Also adding storage to a solar system enhances these benefits even further. With a solar storage system, customers can store their own energy on-site, further reducing their reliance on grid electricity and preserving the ability to power their home during power outage.

Perfect condition for producing solar energy

The most perfect condition for producing solar energy is of course a clear sunny day. But like most electronics, solar panels are actually more efficient in cold weather than warm weather. This allows the panel to produce more electricity in the same amount of time. As the temperature rises, the panel generates less voltage and produces less electricity.

But this is not the true story because even though solar panels are more efficient in cold weather, they don’t necessarily produce more electricity in the winter than in summer. Sunnier weather often occurs in the warmer summer months.

In addition to fewer clouds, the sun is usually out for more of the day in summer than winter. So even though the panels may be less efficient in warm weather, they’ll still likely produce more electricity in summer than in winter.

Solar technology is improving day by day and the cost of going solar is also dropping rapidly, so our ability to harness the sun’s abundance of energy is increasing day by day. There is no harm in harvesting solar energy as it is completely pure and clean. So when are you planning to install a solar panel on your house’ roof!

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