A majority of the world population is now resolving to use solar energy to generate electricity. While saving on costs, many homeowners prefer to install solar panels in their homes. There are many home appliances and devices that use thermal energy from the sun to power. They include solar water heaters, solar smartphone charger, and solar flashlights. Many of these devices have inbuilt mini panels that charge the device when exposed to the sun. Curious to know how solar panels work
How solar panels function
Photovoltaic cells transform solar energy into electric energy. They usually reside in between semiconductors like silicon. The photoelectric effect occurs when photons strike the semiconductor, which produces electrons that create an electric energy flow. How do solar panels generate electrical energy at home?
- The solar energy strikes the solar panel, photovoltaic cells absorb solar energy from the sun and emit electrons that lead to electric field creation.
- Electricity produced is then transmitted to the solar panel rim and into a conductor wire.
- Electricity is then transported to the inverter by the conductor wire, where the alternating current (AC) converts from the direct current (DC). The alternating current is suitable for powering houses because of its ability to lower the high voltages and vice versa.
- Another wire then transmits the alternating current to the electric panel, where the electricity is then supplied to power the whole building.
- Wires then transport excess electricity to the electrical grid.
How solar panels generate electricity
The photovoltaic effect describes electricity generation. Layers of silicon cells, which are semiconductor materials, make up a solar panel. When photons from the sun strike the photovoltaic cell, it gets soaked up by the silicon cells. Silicon cells then emit electrons. The emitted electrons form an electric field, which causes electrons to travel in a single direction. Electron transformations lead to the formation of an electric current, whose transportation is by wires. Electrons then proceed as electricity to the whole building.
Home appliances that use solar energy
- Solar flashlight-This is a useful device used in many homes as a backup when electricity is lost. Thermal energy from the sun charges the solar flashlight. This flashlight has an inbuilt mini solar panel that charges the flashlight. The good thing about the solar flashlight is that it can also set using electricity since it has a separate USB port for charging.
- Solar water heater– water heater position is usually on the rooftop. It uses solar energy to heat water for bathing and other house chores. After the water is heated, insulated water pipes transport heated water to the insulation tanks for storage.
Solar panels have come in handy in the provision of electricity to many households. Despite providing clean and safe electricity, it is famous for its energy-saving characteristic. Therefore, it is advisable to know how solar panels work right from the installation’s fundamental processes. With the development of technology, many industries are employing solar panels for the large production of electricity. Solar panels can charge with just mere sun reflections, but it requires good sunlight for its proper functioning.