How does solar PV work?

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How does PV work?

Solar energy works by converting light energy from the sun into electricity. Solar panels
do this through a photovoltaic process (photo means light, while voltaic refers to electricity).
Now here comes the science bit…

A solar panel is made up of a number of photovoltaic (PV) cells, usually made out of silicon.
Silicon is used because it has a unique atomic structure. When a light particle, or photon,
hits the silicon cell it displaces electrons from the outer shell of the atom, and this is what
creates an electric current.

Further materials such as phosphorous are added to the silicon to enhance this effect,
and the cell is split into a positively charged side and a negatively charged side. When the
positive comes into contact with the negative, an electric field is created between the two.
This electric field produces a voltage, while the flow of electrons from one side to the other
creates a current. This is how solar cells generate power.

Commercial and domestic solar systems harness this potential by combining a large
number of solar cells within a solar panel, which are in turn combined together to form
a solar array, or PV system.

This direct current (DC) electrical charge is converted to an alternating current (AC) which
can be used by your home appliances and the national grid by a unit known as an inverter.
Solar systems can also include a battery, for storing solar energy for use during night time
or cloudy days. Browse our website to find out more.