Residential Solar Installation
How Solar Works To Generate Electricity
A solar panel which is also known as a solar module consists of a layer of silicon cells, glass casing, metal frame, and wiring to allow current to flow from the silicon cells. Silicon which is atomic #14 on the periodic table is a nonmetal with conductive properties that allow it to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity. Therefore, when sunlight interacts with a silicon cell it causes electrons to be set into motion which initiates a flow of electric current. This is known as the photovoltaic effect which describes how the general functionality of solar panel technology works on a home solar panel. You can find more great information on how home solar works on the energy.gov website.
Aside from their silicon solar cells, most solar modules include a glass casing that offers durability and protection from the silicon cells. Under the exterior part of the glass, the panels have layers for insulation and a protective back sheet that protects from any heat dissipation and humidity inside the panel. The protective insulation is important because if there are any increase in temperature it can lead to a decrease in efficiency which can result in a lower solar panel performance. Home solar panels also have an anti-reflective coating that increase sunlight absorption and allows the silicon cells to get maximum sunlight exposure. Silicon solar cells are manufactured in two cell formations. The first is Monocrystalline and second is Polycrystalline. Monocrystalline cells are made up of single silicon crystal. Polycrystalline cells are made of fragments or shards of silicon. Mono formats provide more room for electrons to move around and thus offer a higher efficiency solar technology than polycrystalline.