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How Do Solar Panels Work: The Science Involved

In the days going forward, harnessing solar power is the number one focus of all countries concerned with the development of its available resources. Solar power has several advantages, the single most important one being the fact that it is renewable. There is no adverse effect caused to the ecosystem to harness solar power. The only hitch is developing affordable technology that can use solar power to satisfy our growing need for power.

To make better use of solar power in our own lives, we need to understand how solar panels harness solar power coming from the rays of the sun. The technology is quite simple: use the solar energy radiating from the sun to kickstart electrical energy. As any basic student of science would know, energy can be neither created nor destroyed. Solar panels convert the solar energy into electrical energy.

How is energy generated using solar panels?

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Solar panels are made of innumerable solar cells, technically termed photovoltaic cells. These photovoltaic cells are like a sandwich, with an upper layer of material comprising higher number of electrons, giving it a negative charge. The lower layer of the sandwich is made up of material containing a lower number of electrons, giving it a positive charge. The upper layer is usually made of something like phosphorus while the lower layer is made of boron. Silicon holds them together, like the patty within a sandwich.

Now, solar energy hits the photovoltaic cell and knocks off the extra electrons embedded in the upper layer of the sandwich, the phosphorus layer. This knocked-off electron generates the electrical energy at the silicon field which is the juncture point of the two layers. There is already an electrical field created at this point, with the upper and lower layers maintaining an imbalance of electrons. The knocked-off electron drives the electrical energy through the juncture.

This energy is picked up by the other components of the photovoltaic cell. The generated electrical energy is picked up by conductors and transmitted through the wires attached to them. This is when the electrons flow through the conductors and wires just as they would do in any other electrical energy setup.

This technology, as you can see, is simple. All it needs is wider application so that solar energy is able to replace non-renewable sources of energy to a wider degree.    

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