Solar panels work by converting sunlight into usable electricity. This is one of the reasons why Arizona is a top state for solar installation. The behind solar panels is the photovoltaic effect, which is the process of converting light into electricity at the atomic level.
Solar panels are made up of individual photovoltaic (PV) cells that are connected together to form a panel. Each PV cell is made up of two layers of silicon, which is a semiconductor material. When sunlight hits the cell, it creates an electric field across the layers, causing electricity to flow.
The energy from the sunlight knocks electrons in the top layer of silicon loose, allowing them to flow through the bottom layer, where they are collected and sent to an inverter. The inverter converts the DC (direct current) electricity produced by the solar panels into AC (alternating current) electricity that can be used to power homes and businesses.
The amount of electricity produced by a solar panel depends on the amount of sunlight that hits it. Factors like the angle and direction of the panel, the time of day, and the amount of cloud cover can all affect the amount of electricity produced. (Check out our blog post about efficiency)