How Solar Panels works?
A solar panel (photovoltaic module or photovoltaic panel) is a packaged interconnected assembly of solar cells, also known as photovoltaic cells. The solar panel can be used as a component of a larger photovoltaic system to generate and supply electricity in commercial and residential applications.
Because a single solar panel can only produce a limited amount of power, many installations contain several panels. A photovoltaic system typically includes an array of solar panels, an inverter, may contain a battery and interconnection wiring.
Solar panels use light energy (photons) from the sun to generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect. The structural (load carrying) member of a module can either be the top layer or the back layer. The majority of modules use wafer-based crystalline silicon cells or thin-film cells based on cadmium telluride or silicon. The conducting wires that take the current off the panels may contain silver, copper or other conductive (but generally not magnetic) transition metals.The cells must be connected electrically to one another and to the rest of the system. Cells must also be protected from mechanical damage and moisture.
Most solar panels are rigid, but semi-flexible ones are available, based on thin-film cells.Electrical connections are made in series to achieve a desired output voltage and/or in parallel to provide a desired current capability.Separate diodes may be needed to avoid reverse currents, in case of partial or total shading, and at night. The p-n junctions of mono-crystalline silicon cells may have adequate reverse current characteristics that these are not necessary. Reverse currents waste power and can also lead to overheating of shaded cells.
Solar cells become less efficient at higher temperatures and installers try to provide good ventilation behind solar panels.Some recent solar panel designs include concentrators in which light is focused by lenses or mirrors onto an array of smaller cells. This enables the use of cells with a high cost per unit area (such as gallium arsenide) in a cost-effective way.
Depending on construction, photovoltaic panels can produce electricity from a range of frequencies of light, but usually cannot cover the entire solar range (specifically, ultraviolet, infrared and low or diffused light). Hence much of the incident sunlight energy is wasted by solar panels, and they can give far higher efficiencies if illuminated with monochromatic light. Therefore another design concept is to split the light into different wavelength ranges and direct the beams onto different cells tuned to those ranges. This has been projected to be capable of raising efficiency by 50%.
The use of infrared photovoltaic cells has also been proposed to increase efficiencies, and perhaps produce power at night.Sunlight conversion rates (solar panel efficiencies) can vary from 5-18% in commercial products, typically lower than the efficiencies of their cells in isolation. Panels with conversion rates around 18% are in development incorporating innovations such as power generation on the front and back sides.
The Energy Density of a solar panel is the efficiency described in terms of peak power output per unit of surface area, commonly expressed in units of Watts per square foot (W/ft2). The most efficient mass-produced solar panels have energy density values of greater than 13 W/ft2.
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