How Does Solar Electricity Work?

We all know that light from our sun hits the solar panels and somehow creates electricity. But what is the scientific explanation behind this energy mystery?

We have tried to simplify the process of solar power generation however for those of you who are technical minded and have a sound understanding of science or power generation, so we have prepared a more in depth version for you.  

1. The Silicon Cells

The most important part of the solar panel is the silicon. Silicon is made up from tiny atoms which are charged with electrons.

Atom & Electrons

The most common design of solar panels uses two different types of silicon. This is to create negative and positive charges. To create a negative charge, the silicon is combined with boron, and to create a positive charge, the silicon is combined with Phosphorus.

This combination creates more electrons in the positively charged silicon and less electrons in the negatively charged silicon.

The positively charged silicon is sandwiched with the negatively charged silicon and this now enables it to produce electricity when exposed to sunlight.

2. The Construction of the Solar Panels

Each solar cell is carefully placed flat in a series of rows.

The individual cells are connected using a thin conductive strip. This strip is woven over and under each cell so that every cell in the panel is connected and creates a circuit.

The series of solar cells are then covered with a heavy duty piece of glass and then framed using an aluminium frame.

On the back of the solar panel, there are two leads coming from a small black box. These leads are used to connect the array of solar panels together which leads to and back from the solar inverter.

3. The process which creates electricity

The particles of light which travel from the sun to earth every day are called photons. Photons take approximately 7 seconds to get here from the sun. Below is a basic a basic explanation of what happens when photons strike the solar cells.

a) When the photons strike the solar cells, they loosen some of the electrons which surround the atoms in the silicon solar cells.

Sun & Electrons

b) These loose electrons will now migrate through the electrical current to the part of the silicon cell which is missing electrons.

New Electron

c) Throughout the day, the electrons will flow in one direction constantly leaving atoms and filling in gaps at different atoms. This flow of electrons creates an electrical current, or what we like to call it, Solar Power.

Electrical Current


End Result = Clean Solar Energy