A solar panel, also known as a solar panel, is a device that captures the energy produced by solar radiation to produce electricity. There are different types of solar panels that produce electricity in different ways.
Types of solar panels
Solar photovoltaic panels or photovoltaic panels consist of numerous cells that convert sunlight into electricity. These cells are called photovoltaic cells. This type of panel works by the so-called photovoltaic effect, where light energy (photons) generates positive and negative charges on two nearby semiconductors of different types, thus producing an electric field capable of generating a current.
Solar collectors or solar collectors are devices in which there is a liquid that absorbs solar energy and stores its heat. The plate consists of a system of pipes through which the fluid circulates. Once it is hot, this liquid passes to a heat storage compartment and then to a heat exchanger, where it transfers its temperature to the water for domestic use. After this process, the cold fluid is circulated back through the solar collector.
Types of cells
Gallium arsenide and silicon are the materials most used to manufacture photovoltaic cells. The most used cells are silicon cells, which are less expensive. There are three main types of silicon PV cells:
- Amorphous silicon cells: These are the cheapest but also the least efficient of all. Because of this and because they do not require direct exposure to perpendicular solar radiation, these cells are used in small devices such as calculators or watches.
- Monocrystalline silicon cells: these consist of a single, thinly laminated silicon crystal and are characterised by their uniform blue colour. Being the most advanced, they are more expensive to manufacture than the others but also provide superior performance under certain conditions.
- Polycrystalline silicon cells: like polycrystalline silicon cells, they are also blue in colour, although not uniform. They are made up of several crystals rather than a single sheet, so they have somewhat lower efficiency than monocrystalline silicon cells.
What is a solar panel used for?
They were originally created for the aerospace industry, but here on Earth they are used as an environmentally friendly alternative to non-renewable energy. They supply both off-grid houses and homes whose owners do not want to rely on electricity companies. They also produce electricity on a large scale in photovoltaic parks via distribution grids.
Experimentally, solar energy is also being tested to power solar vehicles off-grid.
The production of solar panels continues to increase year on year and more and more households and businesses are switching to solar power with the help of government incentive programmes aimed at reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.
The cost of solar panels has decreased significantly since they began to be manufactured and their average cost is now competitive with conventional non-renewable energy sources in many geographic areas. Therefore, we believe that switching to solar energy is a very good choice from both an ecological and economic point of view.