What is a Solar Panel?

Written by Wellsee Solar
Thursday, 31 December 2009 10:10

 

About Solar Panels

Solar energy begins with the sun. Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic, are used to convert light from the sun, which is composed of particles of energy called “photons”, into electricity that can be used to power electrical loads. Light from the sun is a renewable energy resource which provides clean energy, produced by Solar panels.

Solar panels can be used for a wide variety of applications including remote power systems for cabins, telecommunications equipment, remote sensing, and of course for the production of electricity by residential and commercial solar panel systems.

On this page, we will discuss the history, technology, and benefits of solar panels. We will learn how solar panels work, how solar panels are made, where you can buy solar panels, and how solar panels create electricity.

The development of solar energy goes back more than 100 years. In the early days, solar power was used primarily for the production of steam which could be used to drive machinery.

But it wasn’t until the discovery of the “photovoltaic effect” by Henri Becquerel that would allow the conversion of sunlight solar electric energy. Becquerel’s discovery then led to the invention in 1893 by Charles Fritts of the first genuine solar cell which was formed by coating sheets of selenium with a thin layer of gold. And from this humble beginning would arise the device we know today as the solar panel

Russel Ohl, an American inventor on the payroll of Bell Laboratories, patented the world’s first silicon solar cell in 1941. Ohl’s invention led to the production of the first solar panel in 1954 by the same company. The new-fangled solar panels found their first mainstream use in space satellites. For most people, the first solar panel in their life was probably embedded in their new calculator – circa the 1970s!

Today, solar panel and complete solar panel systems are used to power a wide variety of applications. Yes, solar panels in the form of solar cells are still being used in calculators. However, they are also being used to provide solar power to entire homes and commercial buildings, such as Google’s headquarters in California.