Learning what solar panels are and how they work is essential if we really want to take advantage of what solar energy offers and move on to electricity self-consumption . Solar energy is one of the renewable energies that we can best take advantage of if we propose it and that, really, offers us many possibilities, being able to be independent in terms of electricity supply, have a self-sufficient house or premises and, incidentally, preventing pollution from increasing by leaps and bounds as before.
What is solar energy and the photovoltaic effect
The solar energy is that which comes from the rays of the sun reaching us to the surface of the Earth. The Sun is a star and emits energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation , which is why, thanks to the distance at which we are, light and heat reach the planet.
The Sun is an energy source considered one of the inexhaustible natural resources , as well as renewable energy resources, which makes solar energy a sustainable and alternative energy. It is a type of energy with which the negative environmental impact is significantly reduced, buying it with dirty and highly polluting energies such as fossil fuels.
There are areas of the planet that can benefit from this type of energy more easily than others. For example, Spain is one of the sunniest areas there is and is one of the areas in which the highest rate of solar radiation is collected in Europe that is usable as energy, converting it into electricity and other possibilities. Specifically, the latest studies have estimated that Spain receives about 1,500 kilowatt hours throughout the year per square meter. Until recently, other countries have been at the fore with this technology and this country has been at the tail of the solar energy producerseven having this amount of solar rays, but lately the outlook has improved, the prices of solar panels to obtain this energy have dropped and there are more facilities to buy, install and use them and take advantage of electricity self-consumption . In fact, in the last year its growth in Spain has been spectacular and an important advance towards renewable energies is expected to obtain electricity and more benefits.
What is the photovoltaic effect
The photovoltaic effect is the partial transformation of the energy that comes from the light or light energy that is in electrical energy. To get this electricity from photovoltaic solar energy , photovoltaic or solar cells are used.
What are solar panels and how do they work – simple explanation
The solar panels are structures that allow us to capture energy from the sun to transform it into electricity and variety of uses. These solar panels are normally made of aluminum and are made up of a set of several cells or solar cells, which mainly contain silicon. Thanks to the photovoltaic effect, explained above, these solar panel cells are capable of capturing solar radiation and transforming it into electrical energy .
During this process, what happens is that the photovoltaic effect occurs when the radiation from the Sun falls on the surface of the solar cell or cell, more specifically on the different electrons of the atoms of the solar cell, and in this way each Electron can be released from its position in the different atoms and go on to create a current of electrons or electricity that goes through the electrical circuit, thus obtaining the new energy or usable electric current. Therefore, this is how solar panels work , since one is made up of a certain amount of solar cells and these, in turn, of a large number of atoms with electrons that capture and transmit this energy; so that the whole that is the panel can absorb and produce a large amount of energy.
Few solar panels are usually installed in a home, even just one, as it is normally enough for self-consumption and to have a sustainable, ecological and self-sufficient house . However, not only electricity self-consumption at home is expanding, but also companies that seek it for their own consumption and those that have solar farms, orchards or solar gardens or solar fields for the production of electricity with a process are growing. more sustainable than those used so far and its distribution to companies and individuals. In the latter case, it is about large areas full of large solar panels, something similar to wind farms.
There are three types of solar panels or panels :
- Photovoltaic solar panels.
- Thermal solar panels.
- Hybrid solar panels (photovoltaic and thermal)
In addition, within these there are more types of different solar panels according to other factors. Among the photovoltaic solar panels , which are those that capture light energy to transform it into electricity, we find monocrystalline panels (silicon), polycrystalline panels (silicon) and other types that are not composed of silicon. On the other hand, among the thermal solar panels , which are the ones that capture the sun’s energy to transform it into thermal or calorific energy, there are low-temperature collectors, medium-temperature collectors and high-temperature collectors. Finally, hybrid solar panels are those that combine both types of plates in one to be able to produce both electricity and strain at the same time.
There are many advantages offered by solar panels and electricity self-consumption and, therefore, more and more people are joining the use of renewable, sustainable and clean energy for their home. As advantages we highlight:
- Energy is obtained from the sun’s rays, a totally natural source and considered inexhaustible.
- It pollutes much less by producing clean energy.
- Energy self-sufficiency.
- Increase the value of the property.
- They suppose the creation of green jobs with new job opportunities.
However, like everything in life, we can also see the side of the disadvantages of solar panels :
- They require a high initial outlay, although this is improving over time and, in fact, they have recently lowered their prices.
- In some countries there are fees and taxes and renewables still receive little support.
- They need a specific location to make the most of the light and be more effective.
- By installing them there is a visual impact on the landscape of the area.
Regarding the installation of solar panels on the roof of a house, a business or a company , we want to indicate that a series of basic factors must be taken into account to ensure that it will work well and that the area chosen to place them is the most adequate.
- Your current electricity consumption.
- The orientation of the surface on which you will install the solar panels.
- The possible shadow that some objects can cast on the chosen area at certain times of the day. For example, trees, poles or other buildings can cast shadows on the roof or the area of your choice, but the important thing is that it is not during the hours when there is more sunlight.
- The state of the ceiling or the surface of the installation, because if it is in poor condition it is not advisable to place the panels there, it is better to change the place or first reform the surface.
- You also have to think that the chosen place should be easy to clean, since solar cells need to be cleaned every so often so that dirt does not cover them and prevents them from absorbing radiation well.
- Always consult a professional before even buying solar panels.