“Photovoltaic” is a mix of the Greek word “photo” that means light and a reference to Italian electricity pioneer, Alessandro Volta, inventor of the first electric battery in 1799. From the sun to Electricity:
How does a PV cell work?
Light is made of photons; a beam of light can be represented as a constant stream of photons.
A solar cell intercepts this stream of photons and converts them into a flow of electrons, in other words: an electric current. Virtually all solar cells are made from slices of silicon, the 8th most common element in the universe, and second in the earth’s crust after oxygen.
Once it has been refined and purified, silicon is used in solar cell production. A solar cell is a sandwich of two layers of silicon. Both have been treated to change their electrical properties.
The bottom layer has too few electrons, it is positive in electrical charge.
The upper layer has too many electrons, it is negatively charged.
When both are on one another like in a solar cell, an electrical barrier is created. No electrons can cross it so no electrical current is created.
However, when light strikes the “sandwich”, the stream of photons gives up its energy to the electrons in the bottom layer and makes them “jump” to the upper layer and escape into the electrical circuit. An electric current is born.
To ensure maximum efficiency, the layers of silicone must be impeccably charged or “doped”. To do so, the silicone itself must be very well refined to obtain the highest level of purity.
That is why at Eco Green Energy we accept exactly zero compromises on the quality of our solar cells. With us, it is grade A or nothing, we require all bills of materials and we will provide them without a problem.
Join us next time to see how this newly created electrical current is harnessed to good use.