Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells

Julian HawkinsJuly 25, 2018 1946 0

Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells

A solar panel is built up of six separate segments, but arguably the most significant one is the photovoltaic (PV) cell, which truly produces electricity. The transformation of sunlight into electrical energy by a solar cell is termed the photovoltaic effect, and that’s why we refer to solar cells as “photovoltaic.”

A standard solar panel used in a rooftop residential solar panel system will have 60 cells joined collectively, and commercial solar panel installations often use bigger panels with 72 or more photovoltaic cells. There are various photovoltaic cells inside a single solar panel.

How does a photovoltaic solar panel produce electricity?

Photovoltaic cells, within the photovoltaic effect, consume sunlight and produce running electricity. Here is the real scientific version. In a crystal, like the links [between silicon atoms] are made of electrons that are distributed among all of the atoms of the crystal. The light gets consumed, and one of the electrons that's in one of the bonds gets excited up to a higher energy level and can move around more unobstructedly than when it was bound. That electron can then move around the crystal spontaneously, and we can get a flow. 

Light is absorbed through the solar panel cell 

Primarily, light hits a photovoltaic cell and is consumed by the semiconducting substance it is made from (usually silicon). This incoming light energy produces electrons in the silicon to be knocked loose, which will finally become the solar panel electricity you can use in your home.

Electrons begin to flow, creating an electrical current

There are two panels of silicon applied in photovoltaic cells, and each one is specifically treated, or “doped”, to produce an electronic field, indicating one side has a net positive charge and one has a net negative charge. The electric field produces loose electrons to flow in one direction through the photovoltaic cell, forming an electrical current.

The electrical flow is seized and consolidated with additional solar panel cells

Once an electrical flow is produced by free electrons, metal engravings on the sides of each solar panel cell gather those electrons and give them to wires. At this point, electrons can proceed as electricity into the wiring to a solar panel inverter and then throughout your home.

If you want to move into the future and join the solar revolution, or if you want to find out what solar panels are right for you, go to and try our price checker tool. You can see how much a system will cost, and how much you can save over the next 20 years.

For more information relating to going solar, don't forget to visit our solar blog section for more handy guides and articles.

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