A lot of people are marveled by solar panels and often ask the question; how do solar panels work? Although it seems complex from a technical point of view, it is basically a modular design of several photo-voltaic cells which take energy from the sun and covert it to electricity.
The modules are connected by special wiring and act as a field unit. Solar panels vary in size based upon the need of the user and the number of photo-voltaic modules required. To protect the cells, a covering is necessary. Coverings are typically made from glass, plastic, metal and fiberglass.
In order for the solar panels to function correctly, all the cells are required to be wired together which allows them to transfer an electric charge. Due to the sensitive nature of the cells, they must be protected. Wafer based silicon cells are especially brittle and need to have additional protection from for exposure and outside elements including wind, rain, snow and hail.
In order for the panels to remain in the best working condition, it is important to insulate against corrosion from moisture and dampness. Normal modules tend to be more rigid and thin film cells tend to have more flexible in their application. Overheating of the cells is avoided by diodes integrated into the panels which automatically decrease the temperature. In addition, ventilation options are built directly into the solar panels by most manufacturers. Each panel is tested in the most extreme of conditions to make certain they function properly in all environments.
A measure of efficiency is how much solar exposure a solar surface receives This is referred to as “insolation“. More solar energy is a direct result of a greater degree of insolation which the solar panel can convert to electricity.
Weather conditions, angle of installation obstructions, and shade all impact the output of solar panels. Optimal performance of a solar panel comes from direct sunlight, no obstructions and installation in high regional installation areas.
Dynamic mounts, increase the solar panel efficiency by using a tracking system which follows the sun and will rotate each panel to secure the maximum daylight exposure possible.
Mirror and Lens Panels
Another type of panel used by many manufacturers uses a combination of mirrors and focused lenses which concentrates energy directly onto the cells. This in turn magnifies intensity as well as reduces the over cost of the panel. As the solar industry continues to evolve and the demand increases, solar capture will benefit from new and improved innovations over time.
With the high cost of energy today, the high pollution rate of producing energy and green house gas issues, it is no surprise that more and more home owners are looking to solar as a long term solution for alternative energy. This coupled with the fact that over 80% of the household heat and energy requirements can be addressed with solar panels, is creating a rapid move to solar.
So the next time you hear someone ask, “how do solar panels work”, just smile and say “perfectly”!