How Do Solar PV Panels Work?

Before getting into how PV technology and panels work, let’s look at why we need this technology.

With depleting and polluting fuel-based energy sources, comes an imperative need for an alternative clean and renewable energy source. Solar PV technology, like in the case of wind and biomass-based energy, is one of the answers to this. It’s environment-friendly, renewable, and also comes with an added advantage of low maintenance requirement.

How does this technology work?

Touted as one of the most promising renewable energy technologies, it would be interesting to how the system actually works. A brief description regarding this is given below.

A Solar PV System usually comprises of the following:

  • Solar Panels
  • Inverters
  • Mounting Structures
  • Balance of Systems
  • Batteries (if required)

Solar Panels are the building blocks of a PV system. It comprises of individual solar cells. These cells are called PV (Photovoltaic) cells by scientists and are capable of exhibiting photovoltaic effect.

Now what is photovoltaic effect?

PV gets its name from the process of converting light(photons) into electricity(voltage).The PV cell consists of one or two layers of a semi-conducting material, usually silicon. When sunlight shines on the cell, electrons are knocked loose from the atoms of the semi conducting material. If electrical conductors are attached to capture the motion of these electrons, an electrical circuit is formed that generates electricity.  This electricity is in the form of direct current.

The greater the intensity of the light that falls on the cells, the greater is the electricity produced.

PV cells are individually capable of producing very low power (usually 1-2 W).Hence they are wired together to form Solar Panels which can give a higher wattage.

What is the need for inverters?

Solar panels produce Direct Current electricity. This needs to be converted to AC (Alternating Current) in order to power the appliances connected to the solar PV system. This is where the inverters come in. In addition to this, it monitors and controls the PV system. Hence they are rightfully called the brains of PV systems.

What role do mounting structures play in PV systems?

They are units that fix the panels in such a way that they are directed to the sun,be it in the case of ground-mounted PV plants or rooftop PV power plants.

What does balance of systems comprise of?

Balance of systems comprise of wiring, cables, junction boxes, regulators that are required to support the PV systems.

Are Batteries required for Solar PV systems?

Batteries act as a backup for PV systems that have to operate at night or at times of insufficient sun due bad weather conditions.

For an interesting illustration of how solar energy works Click Following link-

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India Renewable Energy Expert