The solar panel has been with us for a while now, helping to light up even the most remote parts of the world and keeping the lights on even after blackouts and power rationing. How does a solar panel work? How are they actually made? Not many of us know the answers.
How do solar panels work?
Solar panels use the theory of creation of electric fields and then combine with sunlight to generate electricity. The creation of free electrons from atoms which will be knocked out by sunlight particles to create electricity.
This means that the panel only needs the sun to generate electricity. It should also be noted that even on a cloudy day, the panels can still generate electricity in small amounts but the rate of generation is lower than when the sun is out. So the more the sunlight, the more electricity is generated by solar panels.
Solar panels are also referred to as solar photovoltaics (solar PVs). The solar photovoltaics use photovoltaic cells to trap sunlight. Photovoltaic cells are made of semiconducting materials of which silicon is the most commonly used. The photovoltaic cell is basically a sandwich of two of these silicon semiconductors.
How solar panels are constructed?
To generate electricity, an electric field has to be established. This means that, just like magnetic field, you will occur if two opposite fields are separated. This calls for enhancement of the semiconductors.
To achieve separation of the fields, seeding on one of the semiconductors is done with phosphorus to increase electrons with negative charges while the lower layer is seeded with boron to reduce electrons giving out positive charges. Thus, an electric field is created between the semiconductor layers.
How is electricity generated then? The creation of electric field gives the cell roaming electrons. This is where sunlight comes it. Sunlight is made up of photons or particles of light. The light is directed between the cells and photons knock at free electrons to free the atoms, generating a flow of electricity.
To make a solar panel yourself, you will need to construct the semiconductors as explained above and then do some additional construction. This is done by adding good conductors of electricity to conduct the electricity that has been created. You will also need electric wires to transfer the electric current.
The homemade solar panels are connected to batteries which are then connected to appliances at home or wherever solar power is used. This means that the batteries are charged by solar panels which in turn become a source of electricity for electrical appliances. We are sure you will agree with us that it’s quite ingenious.