How do Photovoltaics work?
We can easily explain how the Photovoltaic effect produces a flow of electrons. In short, electrons are excited by particles of light and find the attached electrical circuit the easiest path to travel from one side of the cell to the other. Envision a piece of metal such as the side panel of a car. As it sits in the sun the metal warms.

This warming is caused by the exciting of electrons, bouncing back and forth creating friction and therefore heat. The solar cell merely takes a percentage of these electrons and directs them to flow in a path. This flow of electrons is, by definition, electricity.

Photovoltaics, Photovoltaic, Solar Electric, Solar Electricity, Solar Panels


Photovoltaic modules (solar panels) convert sunlight into electricity. Wire conducts the electricity to batteries where it is stored until needed. On the way to the batteries, the electrical current passes through a controller (regulator) which will shut off the flow when the batteries become full. For some appliances, electricity can be used directly from the batteries. This is "direct current" and it powers "DC" appliances such as car headlights, flashlights, portable radios, etc.

To run most appliances found in the home, however, we need to use "alternating current" or "AC", the type which is found in wall sockets. This we can produce utilizing an inverter which transforms DC electricity from the batteries into AC. The inverter's AC output powers the circuit breaker box and the common outlets in your home.

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