PV Cell Working Principle | How Solar Photovoltaic Cells Work
Learn PV Cell Working Principle OR How Solar Photovoltaic Cells Work.
Here we Learn about PV Cell Working Principle or How Solar Photovoltaic Cells Work.
What is a PV Cell or Solar Cell?
A PV Cell or Solar Cell or Photovoltaic Cell is the smallest and basic building block of a Photovoltaic System (Solar Module and a Solar Panel). These cells vary in size ranging from about 0.5 inches to 4 inches. These are made up of solar photovoltaic material that converts solar radiation into direct current (DC) electricity.
Materials used for photovoltaic include monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, microcrystalline silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium selenide /sulfide.
Different Types of PV Cells
Many new styles of PV cells are being developed today but mainly two distinct material:
1. Crystalline Silicon PV Cells (Monocrystalline)
These Solar Cells are manufactured from crystalline silicon. Many of you must be knowing that silicon is the second most common material on Earth and is abundantly found in sand. To make solar cells out of silicon, manufactured silicon crystals are sliced to about 300 micrometers thick and coated to work as a semiconductor to capture solar energy.
2. Thin-film or Polycrystalline PV Cells
Thin-film PV cells use amorphous silicon or an alternative to silicon as a semiconductor. These solar cells are relatively flexible and can be directly installed with building materials. They work great even during clouds when there is low sun light. Here, the disadvantage is that thin-film PV Cells comparatively generate less electricity than crystalline silicon cells.
Solar Photovoltaic Panels
An array or Solar PV Cells are electrically connected together to form a PV Module and an Array of such Modules are again electrically connected together to form a Solar Panel. This connection is done by soldering using flux cored solder wire and PV Ribbon.
PV Cell or Solar Cell Characteristics
Do you know that the sunlight we receive on Earth particles of solar energy called photons. When these particles hit the semiconductor material (Silicon) of a solar cell, the free electrons get loose and move toward the treated front surface of the cell thereby creating holes. This mechanism happens again and again and more and more electrons (Negative Charge) flows towards toward the front surface of the cell and creates an imbalance of electrons. Now, when the front (–) and back (+) surface of the photovoltaic cell are joined by a conductor such as a copper wire then electricity is generated.
PV Cell Working Principle to Generate Electricity
Solar cells convert the energy in sunlight to electrical energy. Solar cells contain a material such as silicon that absorbs light energy. The energy knocks electrons loose so they can flow freely and produce a difference in electric potential energy, or voltage.
The flow of electrons or negative charge creates electric current. Solar cells have positive and negative contacts, like the terminals in a Battery. If the contacts are connected with a conductive wire, current flows from the negative to positive contact. The Figure below shows how a PV cell works to generate electricity.
How much Electricity can a PV Cell Generate
A single photovoltaic cell can produce about 1 to 2 watts of electricity. This energy is too less for use in any household or for a commercial purpose.
In order to increase the output of electricity, several photovoltaic cells are electrically connected together to form a photovoltaic module and these modules are further electrically connected to form a photovoltaic panel / photovoltaic array. The number of modules connected to form an array depends on the amount of solar electrical energy needed.
Converting DC to AC Electricity
The PV cells generate DC or direct current. This DC electricity has to be converted to AC or alternating current so that it can be used in a home lighting system or running appliances. An inverter is used to convert DC to AC. This is same as converting DC from a battery to AC.
Storing Electricity Generated by Solar Cells
The electricity generated by solar cells by using solar energy has to be stored so that it can be used later as an when required. This is done by running the current into a bank of Solar Batteries.
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