A solar panel is basically a device that enables the collection of and conversion of solar energy into electrical energy or even heat.
The Concept of Solar Panels
Solar panels are also known as photovoltaic panels and 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 that lies between two panels known as protector panels.
A formation of electric current takes place as a result of the action of the electrons from the aforementioned, excited atoms, and these are then used by a myriad of external devices. The history of solar panels dates back by hundreds of years, when their sole purpose was to heat the water for use in homes. Many-a-times specially shaped mirror is used for the concentration of light onto a tube of oil. Due to this action, there is a heating up of oil and as these heated oil travels through a vat of water, it instantly results in the boiling of this water. The steam that is a resultant of this process of boiling is used to turn a turbine for the generation of electricity.
The History of Solar Panels
It was in the year 1839 that the photovoltaic effect was discovered by Antoine â€“ Cesar â€“ Becquerel, a French physicist. His experiment in this regard involved the placement of an electrolyte cell in an electrolyte solution; two metal electrodes made up the electrolyte cell.
When this device was exposed to sunlight, Becquerel found that the generation of electricity saw a marked increase. It was in 1883 that Charles Fritts coated sheets of selenium with a thin layer 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 electrical energy for the first time. By 1980, the United States of America, 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 there are a few companies that are manufacturing solar cells that offer efficiency levels of nearly twenty eight percent
The Working of Solar Panels
Pure silicon forms the basic element of all solar panels as its makes for an ideal platform that aids transmission of electrons. This material is used on the plates that form a solar panel. Solar panels are also created 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 itâ€™s around twenty years or so.
Solar panels do not require sustained maintenance for their upkeep although; 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 for your needs 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 to go for. In the long run, solar panels will reduce your electricity bill by a long way, and hence the option of using solar energy must be explored in a positive manner.