General, Research, Technology

How solar panels work

The sun is and always will be! This may be a bold statement, but it really is. At least from the point of view of humanity. Let it explode after some millions of years there, but by then we will have left this planet ourselves, or in the form of a heap of ashes, which will be scattered in space by another huge rock that has flown onto our blue ball. It is because of such stability of the Sun that it can and should be used to generate energy. People have long learned how to do this and are now continuing to improve solar energy technology. But how do solar panels, batteries, and in general, how can you turn light into electricity inside an outlet?

Solar panels allow you to make electricity almost free.


  • 1 When did the solar panels appear
  • 2 How solar panels work
  • 3 How do semiconductors generate electricity?
  • 4 Solar Panel Efficiency

When did the solar panels appear

Solar panels were invented a long time ago. The effect of converting light into electricity was first discovered by Alexander Edmond Beckerel in 1842. It took almost a hundred years to create the first prototypes.

IN 1948, namely March 25, Italian photochemist Giacomo Luigi ChemichanI could do what we now use and develop. After 10 years in 1958, the technology was first tested in space as a power source for an American satellite, called Avangard-1. The satellite was launched on March 17, and on May 15 of the same year this achievement was repeated in the USSR (the Sputnik-3 device). That is, technologists began to be massively applied in different countries almost simultaneously.

Using solar panels in space is a common practice.

Similar designs are used in space to this day.then, as an important source of energy. And they are also used on Earth to provide energy to homes and even entire cities. And they began to be embedded in civilian electric vehicles to ensure greater autonomy.

How solar panels work

It’s worth clarifying a little that the concept of “solar”battery ”is not very correct. More precisely, correct, but not related to the power systems that we are talking about. The battery there is ordinary, but receives energy from solar panels, which convert the light of the sun into electricity.

There is another energy of the future - tokamak. Just about a thermonuclear reactor, which is not yet available.

The solar panel is based on photovoltaiccells that are placed inside a common frame. Silicon is most often used to create such cells, but other semiconductors can also be used.

Energy is generated at the moment whenthe semiconductor is exposed to the sun and heats it. As a result, electrons are released inside the semiconductor. Under the influence of an electric field, electrons begin to move in a more orderly manner, which leads to the appearance of an electric current.

This is what the solar panel looks like.

In order to get electricity, you needconnect the contacts to both sides of the photocell. As a result of this, he will begin to supply electricity to the connected consumer or simply charge the battery, which will then supply electricity to the network when it is needed.

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The main emphasis on silicon is due to its crystalline features. However, pure silicon itself is a bad conductor and to change the properties to it, an extremely small amount of impurities is made that improve its conductivity. Mostly impurities include phosphorus.

How do semiconductors generate electricity?

A semiconductor is a material in the atoms of which either there are extra electrons (n type), or they are not enough (p-type) That is, a semiconductor consists of two layers with different conductivity.

As a cathode in this circuit is usedn-layer. The anode is a p-layer. That is, electrons from the first layer can go into the second. The transition occurs due to knocking out of electrons by photons of light. One photon knocks out one electron. After that, they, passing through the battery, fall back into the n-layer and everything goes in a circle.

When the energy is worked out, everything starts in a circle, and the light always burns.

In modern solar panels assemiconductor silicon is used, and it all started with selenium. Selenium showed extremely low efficiency - not more than one percent - and they immediately began to look for a replacement. Now silicon generally meets the requirements of industry, but it also has one significant minus.

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Processing and purification of silicon to bring it tothe kind in which it can be used is a rather expensive procedure. To reduce the cost of production, experiments are being conducted with its alternatives - copper, indium, galium and cadmium.

Solar panel efficiency

Silicon has one more minus, which is not so.substantial as cost, but also to be fought with. The fact is that silicon reflects light very strongly and because of this the element produces less electricity.

Even after hanging so many panels, you still need to ensure their normal operation. Including fight against light reflection.

How does sunlight affect human productivity?

In order to reduce such losses,photocells are coated with a special anti-reflective coating. In addition to such a layer, it is necessary to use a protective layer, which will allow the element to be more durable and resist not only rain and dust, but even falling small branches. When installed on the roof of the house, this is very important.

The sun is power! It must be used!

Despite overall satisfaction with technology anda constant struggle to improve performance, modern solar panels still have much to strive for. At the moment, panels are mass produced that process up to 20 percent of the light that enters them. But there are more modern panels that are “brought to mind” so far - they can process up to 40 percent of the world.

In general, solar energy is cool! And remember, even with such a “scorching” sun, the system will work.