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How Do Solar Panels Work to Generate Electricity?

Lisa Foran | May 17 | News

If you are currently debating between investing in solar energy or another renewable source of electricity and keeping your current energy routine, it could be important to understand how solar panels work to generate electricity to sway your opinion.

Solar panels are some of the most widely used and recognised renewable energy sources globally and are becoming one of the main sources of electricity around the world as we look to transition away from traditional fossil fuels like coal and oil.

In this blog post, we are going to be talking about how solar panels work and what this means for your energy usage moving forward. We will also discuss some of the factors that may affect the efficiency and effectiveness of your solar panels.


What Is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is a way to get sustainable energy from the sun. Solar energy is a good alternative to fossil fuels. It is also good for the environment because it doesn’t produce greenhouse gases. In fact, according to the IPCC, solar energy has a carbon footprint roughly 12 times lower than natural gas and 20 times less than coal.

Solar energy is also a reliable source of power as long as the sun shines. This makes it a cornerstone of long-term energy strategies worldwide.

Solar energy systems are also cheap to maintain once they are installed costing around £4 – £15 for maintenance per panel every six months. The technology can be used for many things, from heating and electricity at home to large solar farms and industrial processes.


Main Components of Solar Panels

Solar panels are incredibly intricate pieces of equipment consisting of several different components that make the efficient arrangements that we are all familiar with. Here is a list of some of the most important components within a solar panel arrangement:

  • Solar/Photovoltaic Cells – The main components of any solar panel. They convert sunlight directly into electricity through the photovoltaic effect.
  • Solar Glass – A transparent, durable glass layer that covers the front of the solar panel. It protects the solar cells from environmental factors like rain, hail, and dirt while allowing sunlight to pass through.
  • EVA Sheet – A specific type of plastic used to protect solar cells. It offers cushioning, durability, and moisture resistance, ensuring that the cells remain firmly in place and work properly.
  • Back sheet – The bottom layer of a solar panel, providing mechanical protection and electrical insulation. It shields the solar cells from environmental damage and moisture from the backside.
  • Aluminium Frame – Surrounds the solar panel, providing structural support and allowing easy mounting.
  • Junction Box – Located on the back of the solar panel, this is where the electrical connections are made.
  • Interconnector – These are thin strips of conductive material, usually made of copper or silver, that connect the individual solar cells within a panel.
  • Silicon Glue – This adhesive is used to attach and secure various components of the solar panel, particularly the solar cells to the EVA layers and the frame.


How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels are made of photovoltaic cells, also known as solar cells, on the surface of the panel which are the components that come in contact with the sun’s rays. These cells directly convert the sunlight into electricity for your home.

These cells are placed in between two layers of semi-conducting materials such as silicon with each layer having different electronic properties to energise when hit by sunlight. This creates an electric field and is known as the photoelectric effect.

Solar energy initially produces direct current electricity which needs to be converted into alternating current through the use of an inverter, which will be installed alongside your solar panels during the initial installation process.

This electricity can then be fed back into the national grid for the homeowner to make some money from their setup or can be used to generate electricity for your own home. Both methods result in vast cost savings over time making your investment worthy of its cost.


Why Should You Use Solar Energy?

Many people in the 21st century are now fully aware of the benefits that solar power can provide to you and the environment as they are commonly known as one of the best sources of renewable energy in the world and one of the front-running candidates for replacing fossil fuels altogether.

But something that a lot of people who are new to the industry need to learn is that solar panels can save you hundreds of pounds per year on your electricity bills since you are no longer relying so heavily on the national grid and fossil fuels.

Building this up over time can result in a massive overall saving of money over a prolonged period even when factoring in the initial cost you had to pay to set up your solar panel arrangement.


What Factors Can Affect Solar Panel Performance?

There are a multitude of factors that need to be considered when looking at solar panel performance as some locations simply will need more sunlight to see the benefits of even the most high-tech panels.

If your house is located in an area that is often surrounded by shade or just generally does not see a lot of sunlight hitting the roof, your solar panels will not be able to produce enough power for you to see many benefits.

If this is the case, you may wish to consider ground-mounted solar panels so that you can place them in an area much more likely to see the sun so that you can generate a more stable line of electricity for your home.


How Can ESOLAR Help You?

At ESOLAR, we have plenty of years of experience in the field of solar panels and installations. Our team are dedicated to providing you with the support you need to correctly implement solar power into your daily life.

We are fully accredited by the MCS, NAPIT, NICEIC, Trustmark and RECC, giving us the perfect qualifications that allow us to deliver high-quality results to each of our customers. This can also give you peace of mind that we have everything under control when installing your solar panels.

Please do not hesitate to contact our team if you have any questions or would like to enquire about our services. Our team is here to help!