How do Solar Panels Work

How do Solar Panels Work


Photovoltaic Effect

To understand how a solar panel or an array of panels work it is essential to understand what is commonly known as the photovoltaic effect. Simply put the photovoltaic (fō-tō-vōl-ˈtā-ik) effect means that when a material receives the light from the sun, it creates an electric charge or current.

After understanding that the light received in a material excites the material that receives it and the material emits an electric charge we also need to understand the kinds of materials used to create this effect. The type of material used in the transfer from light to electrical circuit qualifies the kind of charge that is emitted from the material after it receives the light.

Storage in Energy Markets

It’s essential to store renewable energy if we are to overcome the intermittent nature, as well as make renewables reliable and realistic sources of energy. There’s also an increased demand for aircrafts, large businesses, and electric vehicles to run on 100% renewable energy. Therefore, expect to see lots of research, advancements, and deployment of energy storage in the future.

Bell Laboratories and Crystalline Silicon

There are many kinds of materials that have been used in creating an electric charge. The first material is crystalline silicon. It was in April 1954 in Bell Laboratories that formed the primary practical solar cells using crystalline silicon. Experiments were leading up to the Bell Laboratories breakthrough of the first solar cell in 1959. The three scientists at Bell Laboratories responsible for the first solar cell were Daryl Chapin (engineer), Calvin Fuller (chemist), and Gerald Pearson (physicist). Once the solar cell, which is the smallest units of a solar panel, was created, the next step was to use the solar cell to store the energy it converted, which became the first solar battery, produced at Bell Laboratories. The three scientists discovered that by using crystalline silicon wafers along with other materials, they were able to create this electrical charge in the material. There are a dozen or more different kinds of materials used to create the same effect, but by using crystalline silicon, the best result is produced at a retail cost for building solar panels.

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