How Solar Energy is Created

The sun supplies more than enough energy to provide earth with all of its energy requirements, but technology is required to harness this energy and convert it into a usable form. Solar panels (photovoltaic modules) are used to do this. Just like the solar panels on rooftops and handheld calculators, even spacecrafts, these solar panels or so-called photovoltaic cells are made of two layers of semiconductor material, usually silicon.

When sunlight hits the solar cells they create an electronic reaction. The voltage produced can drive a direct current with one side of the cell receiving a negative charge and the other receiving a positive charge. When a circuit connects the two sides, an electric charge is formed.

Connecting a number of solar cells electrically to each other and mounting them in a frame make a solar panel (photovoltaic module). The modules are connected together in strings and the direct current generated is carried through wiring to an inverter, which converts the current to alternating current (AC).