How Photovoltaic Panels Work


Sunlight (1) falls onto photovoltaic panels (2) where it is converted into DC voltage and current. The DC voltage and current are connected by wires to an inverter (3) where it is converted into AC voltage and current. It is then tied into the facility for use (4), or, if more power is produced than is used, it can be stored in batteries or put onto the local power grid.

If you're interested in a little deeper understanding of how photovoltaic systems work, this section is for you. In order to to do this, we need to step back and take a brief look at the physics involved. Don't let the word "physics" intimidate you. You don't have to be a physicist or electrical engineer to understand this. The concept is relatively simple. The idea is to give you a general understanding of how this stuff works. There are three sections: atoms, semiconductors and the nature of light. At the end of each section we'll take a quick review of the basic concept. Let's begin and jump right into the thick of things!

Let's start off with atoms.