Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How Solar Panels Work

As more people become aware of the problems to the global environment with carbon fuel based electricity production clean alternatives such as solar panels are becoming ever more popular.

Solar panel is a term used to describe the devices used for the conversion of solar energy in to other forms of energy like electrical, heat or light. Furthermore, a solar panel can be described as a photovoltaic panel (PV) which is used in the professional solar power industry to generate electricity from the rays of the sun.

Photovoltaic where photo means light and voltaic means electricity, transforms sunlight directly into electricity. PV cells at work in simple mechanisms like watches and calculators. You’ve probably even seen them for signs on the road.

More complex PV systems produce solar electricity for houses and the utility grid. The utility grid is the power source available to your local electricity provider.

Most PV panels contain a top protective layer, two specially treated layers of silicon with collecting circuitry attached to the top layer and a polymer backing layer.

The top layer of silicon is treated to make it electrically negative and the back layer is treated it make it electrically positive. When sunlight knocks electrons loose from the silicon, electrons move up from the bottom layer of silicon and crowd the electrons in the top layer.

The electrons freed from the top layer are collected by electrical contacts on the surface of the top layer and routed through an external circuit, thus providing power to the electrical system attached to the panels.

One of the main problems with using solar panels is the small amount of electricity they generate compared to their size. A calculator might only require a single solar cell but a solar-powered car would require several thousand. If the angle of the solar panels is changed even slightly, the efficiency can drop 50 percent.

Solar panels are mainly used to exploit the potential of solar energy, which is rampant is availability and is cheap to use as no money need to be paid by anybody for the use of sunlight.

In the depleting conventional energy source day by day, solar energy is the right substitute for that. But we need to be cautious in keeping our environment and thereby the atmosphere clean and un-spoils.