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  • Writer's pictureRon Magby

How Solar Panels Work

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, are an innovative technology that converts sunlight into electricity. This technology has become increasingly popular in recent years, as concerns about climate change and the environment have grown. In this blog, we will explore how solar panels work and the science behind their functionality.


At the heart of every solar panel is a semiconductor material, typically made of silicon. When photons (light particles) from the sun strike the surface of the panel, they excite the electrons within the semiconductor, causing them to move. This movement of electrons creates a flow of electrical current, which can be captured and used to power electronic devices.


The process of converting sunlight into electricity begins with the creation of an electric field within the semiconductor material. This is achieved by introducing impurities into the silicon, which creates a difference in electrical charge between the top and bottom layers of the panel. This electric field acts as a barrier to the movement of electrons, creating a potential difference, or voltage, between the two layers of the panel.


When photons strike the top layer of the panel, they transfer their energy to electrons within the semiconductor material. This energy excites the electrons, causing them to move towards the bottom layer of the panel. The electric field within the panel then drives the movement of these electrons, which creates an electrical current.

Once the electrical current is created, it can be harnessed and used to power a range of electronic devices. Solar panels can be connected together in series or parallel to increase their voltage or current output, depending on the specific needs of the application.


It is important to note that solar panels are most effective when they are exposed to direct sunlight. This means that their output can vary depending on factors such as time of day, season, and weather conditions. To maximize their efficiency, solar panels are often installed at an angle that allows them to capture the most sunlight possible, and they are frequently used in conjunction with other technologies, such as batteries or inverters, to optimize their performance.


Solar panels are a remarkable technology that harnesses the power of the sun to create electricity. By converting photons into electrical current, solar panels provide a clean, renewable source of energy that can be used to power a range of electronic devices. As concerns about climate

Understanding Solar Panels

change and the environment continue to grow, solar panels are poised to play an increasingly important role in our energy landscape, helping to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and create a more sustainable future.


Understanding how solar panels work helps many homeowners feel more confident in the decision to go solar.

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