Little by little, solar panels have been incorporated into the urban landscape. You’ll find them if you look at the rooftop of newly constructed buildings, given that they are mandatory in most cases.
You can also see them forming a roof for the unpopular parking meters or in the even more loathed speeding radars.
But, how do they work?
They squeeze energy from the sun
Greatly summarising and simplifying, the process is as follows:
Sun rays hit the plates, which have semi-conductor materials that transform the energy received into electricity.
The parts in charge of carrying out this transformation are the so-called solar cells. They form solar panels and are small cells made of crystalline silicon or gallium arsenide.
How solar cells work
Solar cells mix with other components like phosphorus and boron to form two parts: one loaded with negative electrons and another with positive electrons.
When the solar cell is exposed to the sun, the photons are able to move electrons from the part where the negative charge is in excess toward the part where it is missing. This movement of electrons is what we know as electrical current.
As the photons release electrons, more and more electricity is generated. The electrons that are not used or that come from the wind return to the negative panel, making everything start again in an endless process.
With that, continuous current is produced, which is stored in batteries until being converted into alternate current (which reaches your home) through the voltage inverters.