What is a Solar Panel? How does the Solar Panel Generates Electricity?

CEO of Tesla Elon Musk confirmed after his calculations that Solar Panels typically generate more power than nuclear power plants.  But before diving deep into the topic of how solar panel generates more electricity? First, let’s start with the basics of Solar panels.

In Today’s topic, we will talk about various details of Solar Panels like types of Solar Panels and their price.

Solar Panel
Solar Panel Array

So what is a Solar Panel?

Solar Panels capture radiation coming from the sun i’e solar energy and turn them into useful forms of energy like heat energy and electrical energy with the help of various technologies. However, the technical feasibility and economic operations of these techs depend on the available solar resource. A photovoltaic cell or solar cell gives 0.5 volt which is of no use but when lots of solar cells are combined together they form a module. A module can give up to 36 volts which comprise 72 cells in total. So technically speaking when we combined solar modules together we get a solar panel. Solar panels absorb solar rays and convert them into electricity. This energy is a direct supply to all types of household, office, industrial, or agricultural systems or devices.

Ministry of New And Renewable Energy

How Solar Panels Works?

When we combined many solar cells we get a solar panel. However, the common solar cell is silicon-based. In a Solar cell, silicon is situated between conductive layers like a sandwich. And each silicon atom is connected to its neighbors by four strong bonds, which keep electrons in a place as a result there is no overflowing of the current can flow. A silicon solar cell uses 2 different layers of silicon N-type layer and a P-type layer. N-type silicon layer has extra electrons and P-type silicon has extra spaces called holes. So when the two layers of silicon meet electrons start moving around the PN Junction leaving a positive charge on one side and a negative charge on the other side.

Solar Panel

In the next step, the sun rays (Photons) strike this silicon cell with enough energy it can knock down an electron from its bond, leaving a hole. The negatively charged electron and location of the positively charged hole are now free to move around. But because of the electric field at PN Junction, they’ll only go one way.

As a result, the electron is moving to the N side, while the hole is moving to the P side. This continues as long as sunlight shines on the solar cell. Finally connecting a wire between the top metal electrode and the bottom metal electrodes provides a pathway for electrons to move towards the holes. So the flow of electrons is electric current.

how solar panel works

One solar cell produces several watts of power, it is sufficient to run a mobile charger or a calculator. But it’s not enough to run heavy appliances like refrigerators, toasters, etc that use 1000 watts or more. So to overcome this issue, we use a bunch of solar panels called arrays on our rooftops to get enough power to run heavy electrical appliances.

types of solar panels

Types of Solar Panel

1st Generation Solar Panels

These are the traditional solar panels that are subdivided further into Mono Crystalline Solar Panels and Poly Crystalline Solar Panels. Mono panels have higher power output, occupy less space, and last for a longer duration of time. On the other hand, poly-crystalline panels are cheaper, less efficient (15% output), and last for a short duration of time.

Monocrystalline Solar Panel

2nd Generation Solar Panels:         

The second-generation panels consist of two types; the first one is Thin-Film Solar Cells (TFSC). They are less expensive and easiest to produce. But they take up a lot of space making them unsuitable for residential areas. The second is the Amorphous Silicon Solar Cell (A-Si), which uses a triple-layer technology. Definitely, students must have seen pocket calculators if you have then you have seen one. These have less efficiency rate of about 7% only.

Solar Panel
Thin Film Solar Cell

3rd generation Solar Panels: 

The solar panel of the 3rd generation is still in the research and development phase. Additionally, some of them use organic and inorganic substances. First is Biohybrid Solar Cell, which is still in the R&D phase. The second one Cadmium Telluride Solar Cell which uses Cadmium Telluride. The production of this Solar Cell is very low and the only disadvantage of this cell is its property of being toxic if inhaled. The third one has Concentrated PV cells, this solar panel is of high performance. Those multi-junction types of solar panels have an efficiency rate of up to 41%, which, among all photovoltaic systems, is the highest so far.

So the main question is what is the cost of a Solar Panel?

There are different types of solar panels with different prices. The cost of solar panels is classified on the basis of their generation. The cost of a Solar panel is high when it is big in size. Similarly, if the solar panel is small in size their cost increases as well.

Solar Panel
  • Poly Crystalline: Polycrystalline panels had an efficiency range of up to 17%, and they cost up to Rs 15-25/Watt. So if you want to buy a Polycrystalline panel of 1 kW then it will cost you around INR 15000-25000. These solar panels are relatively cheaper than other panels.
most c9mmon panel
Mono-Crystalline Panel
  • Mono-Crystalline: Mono Crystalline panels had a high-efficiency range of up to 17% to 19%. They are slightly higher in price because of the high efficiency and pure silicon used in their production. So if you want to buy a mono Crystalline panel of 1 kW then it will cost you around INR 25000-35000.
perc  cell
Mono Perc Solar Cell
  • Mono Perc Half Cut Panel: This panel comprises 144 cells panel instead of 76 cells and the price of mono perc starts from Rs 38-40/watt, which means if you want to buy mono perc panels of 1000 watts then you have to spend rupees 38000 to 40000.
Bifacial  cell
Bifacial Panel
  • Bifacial panel: Bifacial solar panels take less space and as the name says they work on both sides. The price of Bifacial solar panels starts from Rs 40- 45/Watt. It means if you want to buy Bifacial Solar panels of 1000 watts then you have to spend rupees 40000-45000.

So hope we clear all your confusion on solar panels and Dependability on Solar energy. So if you like our article on solar panels then follow our website for more interesting stuff.

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