How Do Solar Panels Work?

So how do solar solar panels work?

Solar panels come in two categories, Solar PV (Photovolatiac) and Concentrating Solar Thermal Power (CSP). The most common is PV, which works by directly converting sunlight into electrical energy. CSP uses sunlight to drive a heat engine and produce thermal power. While CSP systems are more efficient as they can store electricity for when there isn’t enough sunlight to convert. The fact that PV is much more affordable tends to suggest why is more widely used. 

How Do Photovolatiac Cells Work?

When the solar panels absorbs enough sunlight, electrons are dislodged from the material’s atoms. Special treatment of the material during manufacturing makes the front of the cell more receptive to the dislodged electrons so that the electrons naturally migrate to the surface of the cell.

The movement of electrons, each carrying a negative charge, toward the front of the solar photovoltaic cell creates an imbalance of electrical charge between the cell’s front and back surfaces. This imbalance, in turn, creates a voltage potential like the negative and positive terminals of a battery. Electrical conductors on the cell absorb the electrons. When the conductors are connected in an electrical circuit to an external load, such as a battery, electricity flows through the circuit.

How Are Solar Panels Made?

A solar panel is made up of several hundred photovoltaic cells that work together as one. The disadvantage that many panels have is that if some of the panel is shaded, or damaged, and not generating electricity then the whole panel can shut down. Like a string of fairy lights, one bulb can knock the entire set out.

We opt to install a voltage optimiser in these cases where panels don’t come with an optimiser built in. This effectively helps the cells work independently, and help you get the most out of your system.

Do Solar Panels Work in Bad Weather?

It’s a misconception that Solar panels need a blisteringly hot day in June to work. They operate by turning light into electricity, not with heat.

While it’s true that a sunny day does often mean it’s hot, but it’s not mutually exclusive. A solar panel will be just as efficient on a cold sunny morning in January, as a burning hot day in the height of summer. In fact, solar panels lose some efficiency when it’s too hot or too cold, that’s why the UK is the perfect place to install solar panels with it’s temperate climate.