How Does a Solar Panel Work? Harnessing Free Energy!


With the focus being on renewable energy, it’s up to all of us to do our bit, and across North America homeowners are increasingly considering installing solar roof panels on their properties. With more than 2 million homes having harnessed solar energy already, analysts expect the numbers to rise to more than 3 mill by 2023, and 4 by 2023.

Fortunately, high-quality solar panels are readily available, and many of those 2 million homes have installed and now maintain their own panels.

But how do they actually work?

Put simply, solar panels harvest the sun’s energy particles – known as photons, transforming them into electricity, whether clouds are covering the sun or not.

The solar panels are made up of individual photovoltaic cells sandwiched between two layers of semiconducting silicon, the top layer having phosphorus added to provide a negative electrical charge, and a positive charge is given to the bottom layer, thanks to the addition of boron.

As the photons from the sun hit the top layer of silicon, they energize the negative electrons, causing them to move toward the positively charged bottom layer, to which they are naturally attracted – similar to a magnet. This contact creates DC electricity which is passed through an inverter, transforming it into usable AC electricity and sending it through the wires to power your home.

What are the advantages of having solar panels?

There are multiple benefits to gain from installing solar panels, and with the US government encouraging us to at least consider adding them to our properties, why not give them some thought before they become compulsory?

  • Using solar panels makes a marked difference to your electricity bills. Larger, or a greater number of panels means more of your home’s consumption is met by solar power, and if you produce an excess of electricity, it can be sold back to the national grid, enabling you to receive payment for doing so.
  • The maintenance costs for solar panels are negligible when spread throughout the year, and can be eliminated altogether if you are prepared to carry out the yearly clean yourself. This is simply a matter of washing off any accumulated debris, so can be accomplished with very little effort.
  • Having solar panels installed can increase your house resale value by, in some cases, nearly 7%, and this is set to rise.
  • Solar power is a renewable energy source that can be accessed every single day, from anywhere on the planet. According to scientists, the sun is going to be around for at least another 5 billion years, so we should be okay.
  • There are many diverse uses for solar power. For example, the sun’s energy can be harnessed in areas that lack a national electricity grid, allowing countries with poor economies to distill clean water via electricity, or even to power space satellites.

Millions of Americans are finding the idea of a renewable energy source increasingly appealing, both for the planet and their pockets. Easy to install and offering cheaper household bills, solar panels are well worth it!

For a simple guide on installing solar panels yourself, watch this very informative video

The Gadget Nerds