The answer to the question of “how do you produce electricity from solar energy?” is easier to understand once you have a knowledge of the components required to convert solar energy to electricity.
Before you’re able to produce electricity through solar energy, there needs to be some form of solar cell or panel that will be used to absorb the sun’s energy. Solar panels are constructed from a semi-conductive material with the most common material of choice being silicon. The semi-conductive material contains electrons which will naturally just stay there not doing anything.
When photons (contained within the suns rays) hit a solar cell, the electrons contained in the solar cell material absorb this solar energy, which transforms the electrons into conduction electrons. If the energy of these photons is great enough then the electrons are able to become free and carry an electric charge through a circuit to the destination.
So there we have a basic understand of how you produce electricity from solar energy. The below section explains how various aspects can degrade or improve the efficiency of solar electricity systems.
The Efficiency of Electricity Producing Solar Panels
The efficient of electricity producing solar panels is of key concern for many consumers. Any electrons contained within the solar panels that do not receive enough energy simply warm up resulting in lowering the efficiency of your system and for this reason, solar panels are more suited to sunnier areas. The lowering in efficiency is down to two main factors and they are as follows:
- The cell is not working to its full potential as some electrons may be lost
- When the electrons release heat, the panel warms which can interfere with other components contained on a solar panel.
The more solar cells contained in your system means you’re more likely to receive a higher output of electricity. Quality cells are also an important factor in efficiency. If you purchase more expensive solar panels then you’re more likely to have a more efficient system as you often get what you pay for when it comes to technology.
Another factor which affects solar panel efficiency is location. Obviously nearer the equator, you will receive a slightly better output with a given cell, but solar cells should always be facing the direction of the sun, and have no objects blocking the suns rays.