30 Sep '11, 3pm

Solar Basics: How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar Basics: How Do Solar Panels Work?

This NASA diagram illustrates the operation of a basic photovoltaic cell, also called a solar cell, the building block of solar panels. Solar cells are made of the same kinds of semiconductor materials, such as silicon, used in the microelectronics industry. For solar cells, a thin semiconductor wafer is specially treated to form an electric field, positive on one side and negative on the other. When light energy strikes the solar cell, electrons are knocked loose from the atoms in the semiconductor material. If electrical conductors are attached to the positive and negative sides, forming an electrical circuit, the electrons can be captured in the form of an electric current — that is, electricity. This electricity can then be used to power a load, such as a light or a tool.

Full article: http://cleantechnica.com/2011/09/30/solar-basics-how-do-s...

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