Before understanding the basics of solar electricity, we first need to understand,
What is electricity?
Electricity is the flow of the electrons. All the matter in this universe is made up of atoms and the atom is made up of protons, neutrons and electrons.
Structure of an Atom
The name "Atom" is a Greek word which means indivisible because it was believed that atom can't be divided.
Later, it was found that the atoms are made of sub-atomic particles called Electrons, Protons, and Neutrons.
The center of the atom is called the nucleus. It contains protons and neutrons.
The protons are positively charged while neutrons are neutral. The nucleus is surrounded by negatively charged electrons.
This charge in electrons is equal and opposite to that of protons.
Also, the number of electrons in an atom is equal to the number of protons in its nucleus. This equal and opposite charge makes the atom neutral and stable.
When some outside force is applied, the balance between the electrons and protons get upset. This outside force causes the loss or gain of electrons.
When an electron is lost from an atom, it causes the free movement of the particular electron.
This free movement of the electron is called the electric current.
Solar electricity is the generation of the free electrons when sunlight falls on a semi-conductor material like silicon.
We can also say the solar electricity is the process of the conversion of solar energy into electrical energy.
The semi-conductor material like silicon has the property to conduct the electric current when the sunlight falls on it.
This process is also called the photo-voltaic effect.
When the photons of particular wavelength carrying energy falls over the surface of the semi-conductor material like silicon, the cells absorbs the energy which in turn excites the electrons to move out of their shells and constitutes the electric current.
This is the basic principle behind the solar electricity. When the multiple silicon cells or chips or wafers are connected together by soldering the wafers and then encapsulate the cells in toughened, high transmittance glass to form a module or the solar panel.
Panels can run electrical devices
This is the building block solar PV system that generates electricity from sun light.
Any number of the solar panels can be connected to get desired output of current. These PV modules can be taken at any place. Therefore, we have mobile source of electricity.
However, the electric current generated by the module is direct current. Most of the household supply of current is alternating in nature i.e. the alternating current.
Therefore, an electrical device is required which can convert the direct current into the alternating current .
This device is called an Inverter.
With the combination of solar panel and an inverter, one can get an alternating current which can be used to run electrical appliances like ceiling fan, CFL, television, fridge etc.
The PV panel generates electricity without harmful emissions and gases unlike coal and petroleum.
Moreover, its operation is silent. It requires very little maintenance. The life of the PV modules is in the range of 20-25 years.
So, by now we are familiar with the basics of electricity, solar electricity and the solar panel.