Solar Power and How it Works
Sunlight is an abundant natural resource, the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth's surface is enough to handle the world's energy consumption! Solar power uses the sun's rays to generate heat and electricity thanks to solar panels and mirrors that concentrate solar radiation. The amount of electricity and heat that solar panels can generate depends primarily on the amount of daylight an area receives, the quality of the light, and the number of panels being used since some places on Earth receive more sunlight than others.
How Solar Power Works Using Solar Panels
Solar panels, also known as photovoltaics (PV), are the main equipment that can be used to capture the energy from the sun and convert it to electricity. These panels are made out of a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, wiring, and a glass casing covered with a special film. The sunlight activates the panels giving them the chance to absorb the light while the sun is out.
Inside each panel is a thin wafer made from layers of silicon that is a semiconductor. One layer is positively charged and the other is negatively charged so it forms an electric field. When the sunlight strikes the panel, it causes the electrons to come loose and they are set into motion by the electric field which creates an electrical current.
That electric current is the first step in transforming sunlight into electricity, but it's not the kind of power that can be used in people's homes because it is a direct current instead of an alternating current. This is why solar panels come equipped with a solar inverter on its back, which can change a direct current to an alternating current. Once it's been converted, it is distributed to the power source the same way other types of power are used. The solar energy will be stored in the panels to be used on days when the sun isn't shining.