You will find a lot of information on this site about how solar panels work, but here you will get a little bit more detail. Even if you’re just interested in the general way in which they work though, this piece will also explain that as well.
The general idea, of course, is that light from the sun (or any other source) is converted in to electricity. If you are just interesting in getting a solar installation then you don’t really need to know any more than that. However it is an interesting topic, so it’s worth learning about.
Before we can go in to more detail than that though, you have to know a little more about electricity and light. These are things you might already be aware of, but some people won’t be.
First of all, electricity comes from the flow of electrons, which are negatively charged particles which orbit the nucleus of an atom. Only certain substances conduct electricity of course, metal being a good example. However there are also things called semiconductors, and one of the properties that they have is that when light hits them, it frees electrons and allows them to flow. It should be no surprise, then, that solar cells are made out of semiconductors.
Now when it comes to light, although it is discussed on many occasions in terms of being made up of light waves, it can also be referred to in terms of being made up of particles called photons. The reason that’s important here is that one photon tends to knock one electron out of orbit in a semiconductor, which is how the electricity is generated.
How Solar Cells Work
Solar cells come in two halves. One of which is negatively charged (n-type) and the other is positively charged (p-type). When there is no light hitting them they are in balance. However when photons hit, and electrons are displaced from the negative side into the positive side, there is an imbalance. In order for this imbalance to be corrected, electrons have to flow a long a wire which has been hooked up to it.
This is where the electricity comes from. However in that form it is still direct current (DC) and it has to be turned in to alternating current (AC) in order to to useful in your home. That is done with an inverter, which comes as standard with a solar installation.
Other things you will get with a solar installation include a DC battery and a post-generation meter to monitor how much energy is being produced.
Of course it can be interesting to see all of the energy that is being produced, but most importantly it allows your energy company to monitor how much is being produced. That way they will know how much to pay you with the feed in tariff rates. This is something that you can get when you get an installation from MCS accredited solar installers like the ones supplied by Solar Energy UK.
Solar Energy UK
For more information, or to get a free quote on a solar installation, call our free phone number.