Solar panels are currently being used on rooftops, in PV power stations, solar planes, solar vehicles, and by many devices. These panels use a phenomenon known as the photoelectric effect to generate electricity from solar energy.

Architecture of a Solar Panel

A photovoltaic cell makes use of sunlight and converts it into electrical energy. A single PV device (commonly known as a cell) is very small in size and can produce around 1 to 2 watts of power. To increase the output, many such cells are connected together in a chain structure to form a module or a solar panel. These modules can either be used separately or connected with other modules to form arrays. Many such arrays are attached to the grid to form a photovoltaic system. These systems can be used for a variety of energy needs, both large and small.

Working Mechanism of Solar Panels

Silicon, a semiconductor material, is used for making the solar cells that form a solar panel. In order to function, solar cells need to create an electric field. This is made possible by the help of other materials mixed in the silicon slices used for building the solar cell. This “doping material” gives opposite charges to each slice. When sunlight falls on the solar panel, the silicon atoms of the solar cells get energized by the photons. The loose electrons from the silicon atoms get knocked out and these are collected through plates on either side to constitute an electric current.