How Do Solar Panels Work?

As fossil fuel gets scarcer and more expensive, people are taking a serious look at alternative energy sources such as solar power.



With the ability to lower your monthly bill and provide a sustainable long-term energy source, solar energy is the perfect way to power your home now and into the future. Traditionally, you probably associated sun light with generating warmth on your skin and the environment around you. Those same rays, however, can be harnessed into electric energy too.

So How Does Solar Energy Work?

Light, including that from the sun, is composed of tiny particles called photons.

When these photons hit metal they cause the atoms in this material to move and generate electrons. This is called the photoelectric effect and was discovered by Einstein around 1920. They key to making this reaction useful, however, is a process where these agitated electrons can be collected together to form a usable level of current.

Silicon Solar Panels

Most solar panels are constructed of silicon, which due to being a semi-conducted helps shape these otherwise free-moving electrons into a source of power. Solar panels are created by a sandwich of two different plates. By treating them with different types of chemicals, one side of this newly created structure contains a positive charge and the other a negative. This imbalance of electrons creates an electric field in between the two layers.

As the sunlight’s photons are absorbed into the top layer of the cell the free electrons are guided through the circuit and return to the opposite layer, completing the connection through metal plates on either side. Because this results in a state of conservation of energy, due to the lack of any loss of electrons, a solar cell can work indefinitely.

This advantage to solar cells is further enhanced by the lack of any moving parts required for the process to complete. Because no movement is necessary, there is a much less wear and tear over the course of time, which would normally lead to failure necessitating repair. Coupled with the fact that the sun is essentially a limitless supply of energy, it’s no wonder that solar cells are becoming to go-to energy source for homeowners everywhere.

Lifestyle Solar Panels

Lifestyle Solar can outfit your home with high performing solar panels and even help take care of the upfront costs to make it more manageable so you can start saving on your energy bills right now.