Solar panels are one of the most common forms of renewable technology – they work by converting the sun’s energy into electricity. This is done using some very clever little bits of technology called photovoltaic cells (PV Cells).
The photovoltaic cells are placed between semi-conducting materials, usually silicon but it can also be glass or polymer resin – with different electronic properties to create an electric field.
When sunlight hits the panels, the semi-conducting materials energise. This is known as the photoelectric effect and it’s this that creates the current needed to produce electricity.
You can’t plug electricity generated from solar panels straight into the mains as it is direct current, so it first needs to be converted to the safer and more stable alternating current. To do this, the electricity is passed through an inverter, which can then be funnelled into the national grid or used locally.
There are many benefits to using solar power, here’s why we like it at Good Energy:
This is a common question, and you might be surprised by the answer.
Simple Answer – yes, cloudy days do result in reduced generation.
However, because solar panels use the visible spectrum of light to generate electricity, as long as there is enough light to see then it is enough light for the panels to work.
This is a common misconception as it is the light that generates energy, not the heat. In fact, when it becomes too hot (or too cold) solar panels actually lose some of their efficiency.