5. How Solar Cells Generate Electricity:
When sunlight strikes a solar cell, the photons (particles of light) transfer their energy to the electrons in the silicon atoms. This energy excites the electrons, allowing them to break free from their atomic bonds and move through the electric field within the solar cell. This movement generates a flow of electrons, creating a direct current (DC) of electricity.
6. Optimising Energy Conversion:
To maximise energy production, solar cells are designed to absorb as much sunlight as possible. Textured surfaces, metal conductors, and backside reflectors are incorporated to ensure that sunlight is absorbed efficiently and reflected light is reabsorbed.
7. From DC to AC: Inverters and the Grid:
Most household appliances and the electrical grid operate on alternating current (AC) electricity. To convert the DC electricity produced by solar panels into AC electricity, an inverter is used. The inverter also ensures that the solar system synchronises with the electrical grid, enabling excess energy to be fed back into the grid for others to use.
8. Net Metering and Energy Storage:
Solar panels often generate more electricity than what is immediately consumed. In such cases, the excess power can be fed into the grid through a process called net metering, allowing homeowners or businesses to receive credits for the energy they contribute. Alternatively, energy storage solutions, such as batteries, can store surplus electricity for use during low sunlight periods or power outages.