A standard solar panel (also known as a solar module) consists of a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing and various wiring to allow current to flow from the silicon cells. Silicon (atomic #14 on the periodic table) is a nonmetal with conductive properties that allow it to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity. When light interacts with a silicon cell, it causes electrons to be set into motion, general functionality of solar panel technology. which initiates a flow of electric current. This is known as the “photovoltaic effect,” and it describes the general photovoltaic process, as described above, works through the following steps:
- The silicon photovoltaic solar cell absorbs solar radiation
- When the sun’s rays interact with the silicon cell, electrons begin to move
- Moving electrons creates a flow of electric current captured by nodes and wiring in the panel
- Wires feed this direct current (DC) electricity to a solar inverter to be converted to alternating current (AC) electricity.