How Solar PV Systems Work?

How-Solar-PV-Systems-Work

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems are extremely efficient systems designed to absorb renewable energy from the sun and convert it into electricity which you can use to power your home, office, commercial property and even your electric car! The technology behind PV systems is somewhat technical, but you can find a comprehensive guide to how solar PV systems work below! 

Solar Cells

The solar cell is perhaps the most important aspect of a solar PV system. The cell is what absorbs the sun’s energy in the form of photons and converts it into electrons that take the form of direct current electricity. A solar cell, or Photovoltaic cell is made using two types of silicon that promote positive and negative electrical charges, surrounded by conducting metals that transfer the electrons and topped with a tempered glass surface that lets light in and protects the PV cell from damage.

Silicon Conduction

The key conductive element inside the PV cell is the silicon. There are actually two types of silicon inside every solar panel system, P-type and N-type, which are layered together. P-type silicon is mixed with Boron in order to give it a positive charge. The N-type silicon is bonded to Phosphorous, which enables the existence of negatively charged electrons.

Mixing Positive and Negative

Since the P-type and N-type silicon conductors are layered together, this creates an electric field as negative and positive electrons become attracted to one another. This field eventually separates remaining positive and negative electrons and forces them to stay in their respective layers.

Adding Sunlight

The positive and negative electrons will remain in their respective layer until photons from the sunlight force them apart. The sun acts as a disruptive force inside the PV cell which forces electrons to move and then return to their original layer. This movement of electrons caused by the sun’s energy is what leads to the generation of direct current electricity in the individual solar cell. When we use conductive metals to establish a circuit connection around the PV cell, this allows an attractive force to drive the electric current through the metal.

Energy Conversion

Before the DC electricity can be sent to the utility grid for use in homes, offices, etc, it must be converted into an alternating current. The energy grid in cities like Vancouver and around the world use AC power to supply electricity to all connected properties. In order to convert the DC power from the PV Cell into AC power that can be abundantly used, the electrical current must pass through an inverter. This is the final step before power can be transferred from the solar panels into your home for everyday use.

Solar energy generated by PV cells like the ones described above can generate a significant amount of electricity that can not only power your home but be transferred to the larger electrical grid and shared with the community. The average Canadian home uses about 30 kW of energy each day. A large enough solar panel system mounted on a roof can generate far more energy than necessary for one home, meaning you can earn rebates and credits from hydro companies for sharing your energy with the grid. For more information about how you can take advantage of renewable solar energy with your own PV system, be sure to contact Rikur Energy today!