The Concept of Solar Panels
Solar panels are also known as photovoltaic panels. The atoms that are present in these panels are excited by the action of the sun’s energy. These atoms are present in a silicon layer which lies between two outer panels known as protector panels.
Electrical current is formed by the action of atoms which have been excited by the sunlight, and this current can then be used by a myriad of external devices. (Please see Understanding Solar Energy for more information on how this works).
The history of solar panels dates back to hundreds of years ago, when their sole purpose was to heat water for use in homes. In many cases, a specially shaped mirror was used to concentrate light onto a tube of oil. The heated oil then traveled past a vat of water, causing the water to boil. The steam that was produced as a result coul dbe used to turn a turbine, in order to generate electricity.
The History of Solar Panels
The photovoltaic effect was discovered by Antoine – Cesar – Becquerel, a French physicist, in 1839. He experimented with this by placing a cell, made of two metal electrodes, into an electrolyte solution.
When this device was exposed to sunlight, Becquerel found that there was a marked increase in the generation of electricity. In 1883, Charles Fritts coated sheets of selenium with a thin layers of gold and built the first genuine solar cell. Over a period of time many experiment were conducted and discoveries were made when it came to solar cells. Albert Einstein also published his thesis on the photoelectric effect, during this time and also won the Nobel Prize for his research.
It was space satellites that made large scale use of solar electricity for the first time. By 1980, the United States of America had produced a solar cell which provided an efficiency of nearly twenty percent, this efficiency was increased to around twenty four percent in the next two decades, and currently a few companies are manufacturing solar cells which offer efficiency levels of nearly 28%.
How Solar Panels Work
Pure silicon forms the basic element of all solar panels, as its creates an ideal platform to aids in the transmission of electrons. This material is used on the plates that are contained in solar panels. Solar panels are also built by combining silicon panels with other elements, with negative or positive charges.
The silicon atoms are exposed to the bombardment of photons when negative plates of solar cells are faced towards the sunlight. Once all free electrons are drawn away from the plates, enough electricity is generated to power various electronic appliances that do not require too much electricity to power them.
Features and Types of Solar Panels
Basically there are three types of solar panels, namely mono-crystalline solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels, and amorphous solar panels. The life expectancy of solar panels depends on the type of solar panels selected by you; generally it’s around twenty years or so.
Solar panels do not require sustained maintenance for their upkeep. But if lead acid batteries are used then they must be checked every six months and topped up with distilled water if required. If you are looking for a solar panel and do not know what size to go for, then the best way would be to calculate your average consumption of electricity on a daily basis. This would give you a fair idea of what kind of solar panel or set of solar panels you need. In the long run, solar panels will reduce your electricity bill.
Find out More about Solar Panels
You can find out more about different types and brand names of solar panels available on the market today.
For information on solar panels under specific brand names, and the different models which are available along with their specifications, visit the following page: