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How Do Solar Panels Work?

Unbound Solar Solar Panel Buying guide
FREE Solar Panels Guide
As solar technology continues to improve, the use of solar energy has become an increasingly viable and affordable option to power our homes. 

In the last decade, solar has experienced an average annual growth rate of 49%, with the costs of solar installation dropping by 70%, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). 

If you’re one of the millions of homeowners discovering the benefits of solar energy or considering going solar, you might be wondering how solar panels actually work for your home

How do solar panels have the ability to capture sunlight and convert this into electricity that turns on your lights and power those household appliances? Get the science behind solar panels, what they are made of, and the solar process that gives you the ultimate renewable source of energy to power your home.

What Are Solar Panels Made Of?

The best solar panels have an anti-reflective coating that increases the amount of sunlight the PV cells can absorb. Solar panels also have a durable glass casing, insulation, and protective back sheet to shield against extreme weather, humidity, and heat dissipation. 

Most household solar energy systems consist of many solar panels that come in a variety of types and sizes. The two most common types of solar panels are: 

  • Monocrystalline solar panels (Mono) – These panels use a single-crystalline silicon that gives electrons more room to move so panels have higher efficiencies, but at a higher cost. 
  • Polycrystalline solar panels (Poly) – Also referred to as multi-crystalline, these panels use fragments of silicon that have lower efficiencies but cost less than monocrystalline panels. 

How Do Solar Panels Work to Create an Electric Field?

For PV cells to form an electric field, manufacturers “dope” silicon with other materials, such as boron and phosphorus, on alternating sides of the silicon wafers to create a positive and negative charge. These materials direct the flow of electrical current: 

  • Phosphorous – The top layer is doped with phosphorous to add extra electrons to create a negative charge.  
  • Boron – The bottom layer is doped with boron to produce fewer electrons that result in a positive charge. 

This creates an electric field between the silicon layers that can be used to generate electricity in the solar energy production process.

 

Interested in Going Solar?

With the amazing possibilities in solar panel technology, it’s time to take advantage of what going solar has to offer. Knowing how solar panel works, and better yet, how this alternative energy source can work for you is a great way to get started.

Need more information about using solar panels for your home? Check out our solar panel infographic or read our guide on solar power.

Ready to go solar? Contact our solar experts today to help you find the best solar system to meet your energy needs. 

Download Our Getting Started Guide

New to solar? Download our free guide to learn the basics and get started designing a system that’s right for you.