The process of how solar power and photovoltaic cells work can really be confusing for many and may have you pondering exactly how solar energy works.
Of course, there are complicated descriptions, but it’s better that you learn from the easier to understand explanations that can help you to mentally visualize and comprehend the entire process of solar energy conversion.
How the Solar Energy Works at the Atom Level
Think about this for a second: visualize a tiny silicon atom with many electrons floating around it in orbit.
Now, consider two atoms close to one another, each with their own floating electrons. Think about one electron that circles both atoms equally.
The electron that is shared between the two atoms connects them on a physical level and it becomes impossible for them to separate.
Now, think about millions of atoms that are all connected with similar electrons. This is the process for silicon atoms to bind together to create a silicon crystal structure.
The strength of these connected atoms will continue to keep them together until something of great force, such as sunlight, comes through and destroys the bond.
The break of the connection is made by the photons that are tiny particles that are included in the energy of the sun.
When these photons make contact with the silicon atoms, the bond is broken so that the shared electron can begin to move freely on its own.
Many electrons are separated from the silicon atoms that they connect, and they group together to build the electrical current that you utilize to provide energy to your residence.
Therefore, the more sunlight that collides with the atoms, the more electrons that are removed from their orbit and allowed to combine with other electrons to form electricity.
How Solar Energy Works at the Solar Cell Level
The solar cell, also known as the photovoltaic cell, is simply a group of silicon crystals that have been situated into a thin wafer.
These wafers are sliced from silicon crystals that have been grown in a laboratory and have a few additional materials added to support an increased efficiency of the cells.
When it has been cut to the right size, the silicon wafer is then attached to the solar panel and is the solar cell that you can see.
Metal strips are also attached to the cell in order for the electricity that is generated to have a channel in which to flow.
How the Solar Energy Works on the Solar Panel
One single solar cell only has the ability to produce a tiny amount of energy. Therefore, separately they are unable to power almost anything.
However, they can be combined to create a solar cell network, which can create a significant amount of power when they all work together. When the cells have been connected, they are covered with a panel for protection.
At this point, you have a solar panel.
Hopefully, you now understand how solar energy works, or at least a little better than you did before. You should know that the scientific explanations for this energy are a lot more complex, but this breakdown should allow to you grasp the basic process of how it all works.