Patrick Crowley

Patrick Crowley
Head of Sales & Operations

Andrew Bare
Head of R&D

Physics Behind Solar PV and How Solar Panels Work

August 30, 2019

In this week’s livestream, Patrick and Andrew will explain how solar panels work and the basic physics involved behind photovoltaic (PV) solar. The sun provides energy into solar panels and it is then converted into electricity to power your home, but how does this process actually work? Read on to learn more!

how solar panels work

What role does the sun play in solar energy?

When you think of the sun, what do you think of? Its bright sun rays it feeds us all year round? The biggest start in the Milky Way? Photosynthesis? The truth is, the sun is a very important aspect to life on Earth. Without it, humans, organisms, and all other living things would have no way to sustain itself if it were not for the sun’s energy. Similarly, the sun also plays an enormous role in solar energy. Just like the energy it provides to you and me, when we’re looking at photovoltaic solar, solar cells collect the sun’s energy and turns it into electricity. Continue for more.

how solar panels work

how solar panels work

Solar Cells

To begin, photovoltaic solar panels contain cells of semi-conductive material, usually silicon, and encased in a metallic frame and tempered glass as show in the image above. Multiple solar cells make up a solar module or a solar panel, as we know are the shiny blue rectangles we see on many rooftops today. These solar cells are essentially just electronic devices that collect sunlight to turn into electricity.

how do solar panels work?Physics of How Solar Works

The physics behind this process is actually quite simple and not as complicated as it may seem. When sunlight shines on solar cells, light particles known as photons, hits an electron, which will cause the electron to bump out from the silicon (sheet of solar cells). When this electric current is produced, the direct current (DC) is transferred to your home’s inverter which will convert the electricity to alternating current (AC) to match the frequency of the utility grid so that it can be used to power your home! That’s it! It’s that simple.

how solar panels work

No Moving Parts!

Unlike many other machines and equipment that require multiple devices or parts, solar PV remains static on your roof. Aside from the racking system required for rooftop or ground-mount installation, the process of solar all happens on the solar cells, which makes it a self-sustaining system with very little maintenance and contains no moving parts. This makes solar PV extremely durable.

Intrigued by how solar PV works and operates and curious to learn more? Check out more solar panel videos here. Want to see if solar is the right fit for your home? Head over to our website and explore your options on the Pick My Solar online marketplace. We’ll match you with quotes from top-vetted installers in your area for FREE. From now until September, we’re rewarding those who refer their friends to go solar through our solar marketplace. For every friend you refer, you both will receive $599. 


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