How would you describe the sun's energy in a few words?
Solar panels are made up of many photovoltaic cells, which absorb the sun's energy. When the sun's energy hits the cells, electrons are set in motion, creating an electric current. This electric current is captured and sent to an inverter which changes it to alternating current, suitable for use in your home.
How Solar Panels Convert Sun's Energy to Electricity
Photovoltaic Cells: Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight directly into electricity. They are made of layers of semiconducting materials, such as silicon, which absorb the sun’s energy, and create an electric field across the layers. Inverter: An inverter takes the direct current (DC) electricity generated by the solar panels and turns it into the alternating current (AC) electricity that powers your home. Utility Grid: If the solar panels produce more electricity than is used, the surplus is fed into the utility grid, and the homeowner may receive a credit for the power produced.
Solar panels can convert the sun's energy into electricity with the help of a process called the photovoltaic effect! The photovoltaic effect is when electrons in the solar panel are freed from their atoms by the sun's energy and then create a flow of electricity. Solar panels can even generate energy on cloudy days, though it may be less than when the sun is out!
Did you know?
Work together in pairs: Q: What are the three main components of a solar panel that allow it to convert the sun's energy into electricity?
What is the process by which solar panels convert sunlight into electricity, and how does that process work?
Work together in pairs: Q: What type of energy do solar panels use to convert the sun's energy into electricity?
Brain break: Draw a squirrel holding a piece of pizza and listening to music on headphones.
What material is commonly used in solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity?
What happens when photons from the sun hit the solar panel's surface?
- The panel emits light energy
- Electrons are knocked loose from atoms in the silicon cells
- Heat is generated in the cells
What do solar panels consist of that enables them to produce electricity?
- Photovoltaic cells
- Solar fans
- Concentrated sun rays
When a photon strikes a silicon atom, what happens next?
- The photon disappears.
- An electron is knocked free and can be harnessed as electrical current.
- The atom splits into two smaller atoms.
What type of energy do solar panels convert sunlight to?
- Mechanical Energy
- Electrical Energy
- Heat Energy