1143 Dryden Rd Ithaca, NY 14853 1.866.669.1786

What Are Solar Panels? - A Smart Way to Generate Electricity

What Are Solar Panels? – A Smart Way to Generate Electricity

With solar energy becoming the fastest-growing source of power in the world, solar technology like solar panels is worth looking at as there are many benefits from solar-generated electricity.

What are solar panels?

Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, are a collection of solar PV cells that convert energy from the sun into electricityThey are made of solar cells, which are made up of silicon that acts as a semiconductor. The silicon is constructed with a positive layer and negative layer which creates an electric field like a battery.  

Multiple solar cells make up a solar panel and multiple solar panels make up a solar array. The more solar panels you have, the more electricity you can expect to generate. 

How do Solar Panels Work?

Now let’s answer the question: How does solar work? As energy particles from the sun known as photons hit a solar cell, they knock electrons loose from their atoms. These electrons flow through the electric circuit that is created by the positive layer and negative layer and generate electricity.  

Solar panels generate direct current (DC) electricity, which is when electrons flow in a single direction around the circuit. Today, alternating current (AC) electricity is used for the U.S. electrical power grid. AC electricity is when electrons can flow in different directions. An inverter is used to convert the DC electricity generated by solar panels to AC electricity. The AC electricity then gets directed to the electricity panel where it can be used directly by your home or business. 

How does a Solar System Work?

Let’s look at the process that would take place on your roof if you had a solar system. First the sunlight hits the installed solar panels. Then the solar panels convert this sunlight into electricity. The electricity then flows through an electric circuit to an inverter. This inverter converts the DC electricity into AC electricity, which then can be used to power your home or business. When there is no sun, your home or business will continue to be powered by the electric grid. This system is simple, clean, and becoming more affordable every day. 

Types of Solar Panels

There are two common domestic solar panels: 

  • Monocrystalline PV panels 
  • Polycrystalline PV panels 

There are of course more types of solar panels, but these are the most common domestic solar panels. 

Monocrystalline PV panels are cut from a single cut of silicon, which makes it easier for electricity to flow through the cell. They also perform better in high temperature and shaded environments. All of the above makes them the most efficient type of panels, but they are also the most expensive type of panels. 

Polycrystalline PV panels are multiple silicon fragments that are melted together to form one large cell. This makes it harder for electricity to flow through the cell thus making it less efficient than monocrystalline PV panels. However, it is easier to manufacture than other solar panels and thus makes them more affordable than other solar panels. 

Benefits of Solar Panels

There are many advantages to using solar panels. One of the many is that solar energy is a renewable energy source. It is available as long as the sun is shining somewhere and is an energy source that we cannot run out of. The use of solar panels is environmentally friendly. By using solar energy, you are decreasing your carbon footprint. Another major benefit is that it reduces electricity bills. Once you overcome the installation costs, you will start to save money as a result of the reduced costs of electricity. Another upside of solar panel is that the maintenance cost is low which means you are saving even more money. The system requires little cleaning and there are no moving parts which means that there is likely to be no wearing down of any part of the system.