Harnessing the power of sunlight. How do solar panels work?


Jacksonville, Florida homeowner laying down on his solar panel system

Solar panels are a popular way to generate clean, renewable energy from the sun. But how do they work? In this blog, we'll break down the basics of how solar panels work in layman's terms.

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which are typically made of silicon. When sunlight hits the PV cells, it creates an electric field that causes electrons to flow, generating direct current (DC) electricity. This electricity can then be used to power your home, business, or stored in a battery for later use.

But how do PV cells turn sunlight into electricity? The process starts with the sun's rays, which contain particles of energy called photons. When photons hit the surface of a PV cell, they knock electrons loose from the atoms in the cell's silicon material. These loose electrons then flow through the cell's electric field and are collected by metal contacts on the top and bottom of the cell. This creates a flow of electricity that can be used to power your home or business.

Solar panels are typically installed on the roof or ground-mounted in an area with plenty of sunlight. To maximize energy production, solar panels are usually angled towards the sun and placed facing south in the northern hemisphere and facing north in the southern hemisphere. In addition, solar panels work best in cool temperatures, so they are designed to allow for airflow underneath them to keep them from overheating.

The amount of electricity that a solar panel can produce depends on several factors, including the size of the panel, the amount of sunlight it receives, and the efficiency of the PV cells. Modern solar panels are highly efficient and can produce a significant amount of energy even on cloudy days. In addition, if your solar panel system produces more energy than you need, you may be able to sell the excess energy back to the grid or store it in a battery for later use.

Overall, solar panels are a simple and effective way to generate clean, renewable energy from the sun. By harnessing the power of sunlight, you can reduce your reliance on traditional sources of electricity and help contribute to a more sustainable future. If you're interested in installing solar panels with EnLight.Energy, be sure to speak with a solar professional to learn more about how solar energy can work for you.