We have probably seen solar cells being most commonly used to power watches and solar calculators.
The cells are responsible for converting sunlight into electricity using the dynamics of photovoltaic effects. Several of these cells are used to create a solar panel, photovoltaic arrays or solar modules. The energy produced by these photovoltaic cells is called solar energy. However these cells stop producing any electricity when there is no sunlight or if it is a cloudy day. With the passing of a cloud if the rays of the sun are obstructed, the conversion of solar energy is either slowed down or stopped until the rays reach it again.
How Solar cells work
Solar cells are responsible for converting DC to AC which is then converted into electricity for consumption by an inverter. A very simple device to install, and had no movable parts, but yet highly effective in energy conservation.
Solar cells contain the 14th element, ie silicon as a primary material which functions as an insulator and a metal. In metal the atoms have electrons that are loosely bound and move freely when there is electric pressure.
An insulator has electrons that are tightly bound and do not move freely even with electric pressure. Sunlight carries photons and when these hit a cell they are taken in by silicon which is a semiconductor.
This causes the electrons to be displaced and they carry a negative charge. And because of the tightly bound electrons of the insulator, these electrons move in one direction.
There are also positive charges that are created and are called holes which flow in the opposite direction of the displaced electrons. As the photon hits the silicon the atom gets ionized and the energy transferred to any outer electron making it free. This conversion of electron movement is called electric current.
Solar panels are nothing but a panel of photovoltaic cells. These solar panels work in a similar way as solar cells, but since it's a combination of several solar cells the electricity generated is enormous as each solar cell is responsible for its functioning and creation of energy.
These solar panels are used for spacecrafts and off-the-grid applications. All these solar cells are interconnected with wires and the energy is transferred to inverters to produce electricity for a much larger use.
Where to buy?
Solar cells can be bought easily from any electrical store or from any online seller that deals in simple electronic products. They are manufactured according to the required size, since their size varies in accordance to the usage and so does the price.
There are several manufactures that sell panels online depending on an individual's requirement. These panels can also be bought individually from a store or from an installation expert. Before investing in a solar panel it is good to check the electricity requirement since the panel does last for about 20-25 years, it definitely is an investment to cut down on your bills and conserve the environment.