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How do PV Solar Panels Work?

A Solar Photovoltaic System – known as a Solar PV System is a system which uses one or more solar panels to convert sunlight into energy.

Solar Photovoltaic Panels are generally made up of 2 layers. In each layer is Crystalline Silicon treated in two different ways. One is treated by adding Phosphorous and gives this crystal layer an excess of electrons (n-layer). The second layer is treated by adding Boron, which leaves this crystal layer deficient of electrons and with 'holes' where the missing electrons should be (p-layer).

These two layers, now negatively and positively charged are placed next to each other. The electrons and 'holes' are attracted to each other and move to their neighbouring layers. This movement of particles generates a strong electrical field across the p-n junction.

When the photons in sunlight strike this field, it forces the electrons and 'holes' to separate and this produces a voltage (~0.5V). This voltage pushes the flow of electrons (or DC current) to contacts at the front and back of the cell where it is conducted away along the wiring circuitry that connects all the cells together.

The most recent developments in PV Solar Panels has seen the arrival of the 'amorphous' panel, which is cut so thin that it retains its flexibility for easier positioning.