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How Solar Energy Works

Solar Science Illuminated

Solar PV panels convert sunlight into electricity using photovoltaic cells made of semiconductor materials like silicon. When photons from sunlight hit the cells, they create a flow of DC electricity that can be used to power homes and businesses. An inverter is used to convert this DC electricity into the AC electricity needed for use in the home.

Solar panels capture sunlight

When sunlight hits the solar panels, it is absorbed by the semiconductor material (typically silicon) and causes electrons to be knocked loose.

Photovoltaic cells generate DC electricity

As electrons flow through the semiconductor material, they create a flow of DC electricity.

Inverter converts DC to AC electricity

The DC electricity generated by the solar panels is converted into AC electricity, which is the type of electricity used in homes and businesses.

Electricity is sent to the grid

The AC electricity is sent to the electrical grid or used directly in the home or business to power appliances and electronics.

Types of Solar Panels

Solar panels come in different types to cater to different needs. The two main types of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels used in solar systems are monocrystalline and multicrystalline. While monocrystalline panels are more efficient and take up less space, multicrystalline panels are more affordable and have a longer lifespan. The choice between the two depends on various factors such as available space, budget, and energy efficiency goals.

Monocrystalline Solar Panels

Monocrystalline solar panels are known for their high efficiency rate in generating electricity from light. They are made from high-purity silicon, and their cells have a single, uniform crystal structure. This uniformity makes them more space-efficient and aesthetically pleasing, making them ideal for residential and small commercial rooftop installations. Monocrystalline panels are also durable and have a longer lifespan than other types of solar panels. However, they are more expensive to produce than other types of panels.

Multicrystalline Solar Panels

Multicrystalline solar panels are simpler to produce and offer a cost-efficient and versatile option for solar installations. They are made by melting multiple fragments of silicon together, resulting in cells with multiple crystals. This type of panel is available in a range of sizes and colors, suitable for both residential and larger-scale installations, as well as on and off-grid applications. Multicrystalline panels are generally less efficient than monocrystalline panels, but their lower production costs make them a popular choice for many solar projects.

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