How solar panels work？
Solar panels work like photosynthesis in the plant kingdom. It just separates the particles or photons in the sunlight from the atoms and makes them move to generate a flow of electrons. The main role of the solar panel is to capture the sunlight, and the inverter plays the role of capturing this electron flow and converting it into a flow that can be used for The role of electrical current in electronic equipment. This process is also known as the photovoltaic effect, so solar panels are also called photovoltaic panels.
The whole process can be summarized in the following four steps:
1. Photovoltaic panels absorb solar energy and at the same time make electrons move, generate current, and convert it into direct current;
2. The solar inverter converts the direct current of the solar module into alternating current, and most household appliances use alternating current;
3. Electricity flows through your home to power electronic devices.
4. The excess power will be stored in the battery, and you can choose to sell this excess power regularly.
How solar cells work？
Solar cells are made by combining two types of semiconductor plates, called p-type and n-type silicon. P-type silicon is created by adding atoms, such as elements such as boron or gallium, that have an external energy level of one less electron than silicon. Because boron has one less electron than is needed to form bonds with surrounding silicon atoms, it creates electron vacancies or the “Auger effect“.
N-type silicon is made by including atoms with one more electron than silicon, such as phosphorus, in its outer layers. Phosphorus has five electrons in its outer energy levels. It bonds to its neighboring silicon atoms, but one electron does not participate in the bonding. It can move freely inside the silicon structure.
A solar cell consists of a p-type silicon layer adjacent to an n-type silicon layer. In the n-type layer, there is an excess of electrons, and in the p-type layer, there is an excess of positively charged holes (vacancies due to a lack of valence electrons). Near the junction of the two layers, electrons on one side of the junction (n-type layer) move into holes on the other side of the junction (p-type layer). This creates a region around the junction, called a depletion region, where electrons fill the holes.
Image credit: MDPI
When all holes in the depletion region are filled with electrons, the p-type side of the depletion region (where holes were originally present) now contains negatively charged ions, while the n-type side of the depletion region (where electrons were present) ) now contains positively charged ions. The presence of these oppositely charged ions creates an internal electric field that prevents electrons in the n-type layer from filling the holes in the p-type layer.
When sunlight hits a solar cell, electrons in the silicon are ejected, creating “holes” — vacancies left by the escaping electrons. If this happens in an electric field, the electric field will move electrons to the n-type layer and holes to the p-type layer. If you connect the n-type and p-type layers with metal wires, electrons will travel from the n-type layer to the p-type layer through the depletion region, and then generate current through the outer wires on the back of the n-type.
How does solar panels work at night?
The truth is that solar panels don’t generate electricity for you at night because sunlight is required for them to work. It may be that many companies use 24/7 solar panels as a selling point, although that is the truth. But after sunset, the sunlight received by the solar panels is only reflected by the moon. This is negligible for solar panels and produces almost no electricity, so it can also be understood that solar panels do not work at night.
So far, almost all of the electricity generated by a solar power system can be stored in its battery pack, so there’s no need to worry about power outages. Your home may not be able to use up this stored electricity, and you can further reduce your electricity bill by selling it according to local government policy.
How Can I Tell If My Solar Panels Are Working?
1. Check your inverter:
A failure of a solar inverter can be the culprit behind a solar power system not working properly. We usually refer to the inverter as the “brain” of the solar system, and it goes without saying that it is one of the most important components. Introduction to inverters:
The inverter is equipped with a fault warning light, red or yellow, etc. may indicate that your solar system has failed, please deal with it in time. If the inverter light is flashing red, please contact your solar company or the manufacturer of the inverter and ask them for help.
2. Check the weather：
Even if the solar panel can be used normally in rainy weather, its power will be much lower than in sunny weather. At this time, the work efficiency may remain at 10%~30%
You may experience frequent rainy weather in your area, but don’t worry, you can still benefit from a solar system. Take San Francisco, for example, a cool, foggy area that still has the highest solar power capacity in the country.
The most important thing is that you need to know how much sunlight each year or month you get around your house in order to calculate how much solar energy your solar panels will receive. Rainy days are common and, on average, won’t affect the return of your solar system to you.
3. Check your electricity bill：
A solar power system will greatly reduce this bill for your home, although the amount you pay the power company fluctuates based on your solar power. It is normal to have fluctuations in general. If you consider that your electricity bill is still high after your home has a solar system, then your solar panels may not be functioning properly.
4. Check your solar monitoring system：
When you buy and install a solar system, you have a solar monitoring system (maybe software, or just a display installed somewhere) that your solar company shares with you the information it provides. You should focus on the data that shows how much KW of electricity the solar panel is producing. As long as the displayed number increases, then your solar power system is working properly; otherwise, please check your system or report the situation to your solar company.
5. Contact your solar company
Your solar company may offer solar system repair services depending on your region and the terms of the agreement. It is worth noting that there may be clauses in the terms of the agreement between the solar company and you that will lead to refusal to provide service, and it may be that some of your actions will cause them to refuse to provide you with maintenance services. So you need to take a good look at the terms and conditions of the solar company’s contract with you, or contact them ahead of time to find out what actions will result in a denial of service.
Hanse’s solar program includes comprehensive system repairs as well as solar system replacement. If your solar panel or solar system doesn’t seem to be working properly, we’ll send someone to repair it for free or replace it for you. If you think a solar system is right for you, please contact one of our solar consultants.