In the 21st century, a countries efficiency greatly depends on it’s ability to generate power, both sustainably and sufficiently, and with the reservoirs of fossil fuels running out and the environmental jeopardies, the world is desperately looking for sustainable and environment friendly sources of energy, solar power seems like the most feasible option out there.
Solar energy is basically the energy harnessed from the sun, it’s cheaper, effective and environment friendly. Solar panels are used to capture sunlight and convert it to electrical energy for household usage.
How solar panels work:
An ideal solar panels has layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing and various wiring to allow current to flow from the silicon cells. It is connected to an inverter and an electric motor for the energy to convert and distribute.
The sun radiates it’s energy through electromagnetic radiation, this energy is captured by the solar panels, these panels have a layer of silicone, silicone is a non metal (atomic number 14) with the ability to conduct electricity, in this process when sunlight enters the panels, they are set in motion and a flow of current is generated, it’s called “photovoltaic effect”, this effect is the starting of energy production through solar energy.
Afterwards, following the breakdown of electrons, the silicon cells absorb and convert it to direct current (DC). The direct current is afterwards converted to alternating current (AC) current which is supplied to the appliances
Apart from the layer of silicone layers, there is a glass casing that protects the layer of silicone from dusts and dirt. In some solar panels, a coating is given to make it less reflective and thus increasing absorption of sunlight, the more sunlight that can be absorbed, the more electricity will be produced. Under the glass exterior there remains a layer of insulation and a protective back sheet, the insulation layer is important as it prevents the Temperature from increasing, increased temperature will reduce the efficiency drastically, the protective plate is important as it protects the silicon atoms from any damage.
Given the electricity produced in a solar panel is DC current, it needs to be converted to AC current and in this case an inverter is required. The inverter converts the regular DC current to AC which is fit for households and also provide ground fault protection, showing system stats of voltage and current on AC and DC connections. Previously, central inverters used to dominate the solar industry to a great extent, but it had it’s share of jeopardies, if there was an issue with one solar panel, the capacity of the entire solar array would be harmed, but since the invention of micro inverters, this issue has been resolved to a great extent, now with inverters connected to each solar panels, the electricity quality doesn’t deviate with problems in one solar panel.
Generally, most solar panels are connected to the grid for proper maintenance, in such cases, during inclement weather or lack of sunlight the central grid would provide electricity thus reducing any issues, again if there’s a surplus in the production, it will be sold to the grid and the user will be paid for it. But, one can choose to not connect to the grid if necessary
Basically, this is the process of energy production through solar panels. They are one of the fastest spreading sources of energy and we can only hope that it will get better with time.