What are solar panels comprised of?

Julian HawkinsJuly 31, 2018 1041 0

What are solar panels comprised of?

When sunlight knocks your skin, the electrons in the atoms of your body reverberate immediately to produce heat. However, electrons do something, unlike silicon. The electrons start moving around. This means that the sun’s energy is conducted into an electrical current, rather than static heat.

Building an electrical tide with sunlight makes Silicon is a very special substance. Initial solar panels are created with silicon crystals. This is a result of electrons making up a silicon atom.

Crystals made from these are smaller and inexpensive to create. Even though they are not as good at creating electricity as opposed to silicon.

Newer, thin film solar panels function in a similar way. Rather than silicon, they’re made with elements like Cadmium Telluride, Amorphous Silicon, Copper Indium Gallium Selenide, Gallium Arsenide. 
A series of tiny wires creates a network of electrical current-conducting "mini highways" within a solar panel. These all tie back to a power inverter. Inverters change the raw electric current from DC power to AC power. Everyone’s home is wired to conduct AC power, so solar inverters essentially make the electricity usable.

Whether it's silicon or thin film solar cells engrossing the sun’s light, the electrons do what they need to do. They are moved up to a bigger level of energy and get into play. Once that higher energy level is reached, it’s up to us to capture and direct the electricity where we can use it.

Do solar panels actually store energy?

Honestly, no they do not. This has been one of the biggest impediments for solar installation companies. While it’s great to produce clean solar electricity, days with less sun and lower production might mean you have to tap into the power grid anyway. But there are options.

Plenty of states offer net metering that allows you to sell any excess energy you create on sunny days to the utility company for credit. Then when those rainy days come along (or at night), you can pull power from the grid with those points you racked up.

Solar powered homes and Solar Batteries cost

Solar installation companies like Tesla, LG, and sonnenBatterie are producing batteries that make solar plus storage for homeowners more accessible. You can pull energy from your battery at night, rather than switching to utility power when the sun stops shining. Battery storage is an alternative for storing solar energy. Batteries give the option of more independence from the grid.

Of course, your solar panels will kick back in when it’s sunny as well, giving your battery a break. Battery backup also comes in handy in cases of power blackouts. You could run your appliances and electronics using a solar battery for a day or two. That’s generally enough time for your utility to get things up and running again.

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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