Going Solar: The Fascinating World of Photovoltaic Cells

Photovoltaic CellsA photovoltaic module consists of solar cells connected to each other with electrical wiring. You can connect modules mounted on supporting structures to each other to form an array. The amount of electricity an array produces depends on the voltage they design them to hold.

The amount of electrical current produced is in direct relation to the amount of sunlight that hits the cells.

The energy revolution

Solar panels are commonplace these days. They are becoming more popular so much that solar installers here in Tucson are busy installing residential solar and thermal systems in different parts of the state. What makes up the panels now producing electricity off-grid are the photovoltaic cells.

They serve as the basic unit of the system. They are the main electronic systems of arrays that utilize renewable energy from the sun. Essentially, each solar cell is a solid-state electrical device. Through the photovoltaic effect, it converts light energy into electrical energy (voltage).

Photovoltaics 101

The photovoltaic effect occurs at the atomic level. Simplified, when a material absorbs photons of light, it releases electrons after the electrons reach a higher energy state. In the cells that we use, sunlight produces enough power to detach the electrons from silicon atoms.

You can capture the release of electrons, which then generates electrical current. The difference in polarity between the surfaces that come in contact with the flow of electrons allows for the extraction of current from the photovoltaic cells.

Technological innovations allow for utilization of the direct current produced into a form that is useful to us. Solar photovoltaic systems can produce the electricity required to power our calculators, light bulbs, cellular phones, homes, factories, and modified cars.

Power generation using photovoltaic cells is s direct function of the power of the light in the area. If you live in a place where the sun shines brightly for most of the year, what is keeping you from having a solar array installed?