How Do Solar Panels Work?

by | Nov 23, 2023 | Renewable Energy, Solar Energy

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Solar energy is a type of energy that the sun provides to the planet. Solar energy was invented about 100 years ago to harness the sun’s energy that could be used as an alternative to electricity. Previously, solar energy was employed to generate streams that powered machines. Solar panels have become the most popular way to harness solar energy. Solar panels catch solar energy and transform it into electricity, which is then utilized to power electrical loads. In this article, we will look at how solar panels work. But first, let us define what solar panels are.

What are Solar Panels?

Photovoltaic cells in solar panels turn the sun’s energy into electricity. The photovoltaic cells are placed between semiconducting layers like silicon. Each layer has unique electrical characteristics that energize when photons from sunshine strike them, generating an electric field. This is known as the photoelectric effect, which generates the current required to generate electricity.

How Do Solar Panels Work?

How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels are typically constructed of silicon or similar semiconductor material and then mounted in a metal panel frame with a glass enclosure. When exposed to photons of sunlight, this substance releases electrons and generates an electric charge. Photovoltaic cells generate an electric field that is analogous to a magnetic field. Opposed poles cause the magnetic field, while the electric field is caused by opposite charges separated. The solar panels generate direct current (DC), which is converted into alternating current (AC) by an inverter and supplied to the National Grid or is up for residential or company consumption to which the solar panels are attached.

AC is the type of electrical current used when plugging appliances into standard wall sockets. Micro-inverters can optimize each solar panel in a system and enhance overall system output since a poor panel, like unclean or in the shade, can not reduce the overall performance of the solar array. The photovoltaic effect is at the heart of the science of generating power with solar panels.

What is the photovoltaic effect?

Edmond Becquerel developed the photovoltaic effect, which enabled the conservation of solar electric energy from sunlight.

The photovoltaic effect operates in the following steps:

1. Sunlight strikes the solar cells, energizing electrons and setting them in motion.

2. An electrical current is created when electrons flow from the junction between cell layers.

3. Metal plates and wires capture electron flow and create electricity.


The Sun is one of the planet’s most powerful natural energy sources, with enough potential energy hitting the Earth every hour to quickly supply the world’s energy demands. Furthermore, solar power is entirely sustainable and a renewable energy source that does not emit harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Solar hot water and concentrated solar electricity are two further forms of solar technology. Both technologies utilize solar energy, although in significantly different ways than photovoltaic.

Also Read: Top Trends in Solar Energy



  • Michael Thompson

    Michael Thompson is an esteemed expert in the renewable energy sector, with a profound experience spanning over 25 years. His expertise encompasses various sustainable energy solutions, including solar, wind, hydroelectric, and energy efficiency practices. Michael discusses the latest trends in renewable energy and provides practical advice on energy conservation.

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