How Photovoltaic Solar Panels Work

How Photovoltaic Solar Panels Work

Photovoltaic solar panels are composed primarily of silicon. Silicon is used because it naturally releases electrons (electricity) when struck by a photon (light source). The 'trick' that manufacturers of photovoltaic solar panels use was to find a way to "grab" the electrons displaced and use their energy.

Most solar panels are a clear protective layer on the top of two layers of silicon specially treated with a sampling circuit connected to the top layer, and a robust polymer support. From there, the solar panel can be framed (it adds durability) or not (it reduces the weight), and in some cases, until the layers are composed of flexible materials.

The vast majority of photovoltaic solar panels work the same way

The top layer of silicon is treated to give it a negative electrical characteristic. The back layer is treated to give it the power of positive characteristic. Due to these treatments and the added elements, the top layer is rich in electrons and bedridden back is relatively poor in electrons.

These two layers are separated by a board charged with electricity, which allows electrons moving from back to front, but not the other way. When light hits the photovoltaic solar panel, some of the photons are absorbed by the layers of silicon. Photons cause the release of electrons from the silicon crystal, and these electrons "wandering around", looking for a place where they can grab on.

Some of the electrons are released from the bottom layer and find their way through the board until the top layer (rich in electrons). Some of these electrons are released from the top of this layer and, as they can not travel to the background layer (electron-poor) and will be bundled with new electrons from the bottom layer, are free to be collected by electrical contacts of the surface top layer. The electrons collected are guided through an external circuit, providing power to the electrical system connected to the photovoltaic solar panels.

The circuit is completed when the electrons return to the bottom layer of the photovoltaic solar panel, find "points of rest" in the low electrons layer and await a new photon that released them. There are no moving parts in photovoltaic solar panel, so the maintenance boils down to keeping the junction boxes and wires free from moisture and corrosion, and maintain photovoltaic solar panel surface clean enough to allow light to pass through layers of silicon.

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