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How Does Solar Panel Generate Electricity?

How Solar Panel Works

Solar panels are made from a combination of solar cells, silicon, metal and glass. Solar cells are made of silicon, which is cut into thin wafers to form monocrystalline solar panels. Photovoltaic (PV) cells generate electricity from sunlight, while thin-film solar cells are created by depositing one or more layers of PV material onto a supporting material such as glass, plastic or metal. There are three main types of solar panels currently used: monocrystalline, polycrystalline (also known as multi-crystalline), and thin film. Monocrystalline solar panels are highly efficient and optimised for commercial use, while polycrystalline solar panels are less efficient but more affordable. Thin film solar panels are the least efficient but also the most affordable option.

Solar panels work by allowing photons, or particles of light, to knock electrons free from atoms, generating a flow of electricity. This process is known as the Photovoltaic Effect and occurs when sunlight hits panels made from silicon. The electrical current produced is then converted into usable direct-current energy. Solar panels convert energy from the sun into electricity and heat. This is done through photovoltaic (PV) cells, which use the photovoltaic effect to convert incoming photons of sunlight into usable electricity. The process involves four steps: sunlight activates the panels, cells produce electrical current, electrical energy is converted, and finally the converted energy is used.

Solar panels generate electricity when photons, or particles of light, knock electrons free from atoms, creating a flow of electricity. This electrical current is then sent through wires to an inverter, where it is converted into usable energy. Solar panels typically have a conversion efficiency of 15-22%, with some outliers reaching up to 23%. This means that they can convert up to 23% of the solar energy shining on them into usable energy.