What is Solar Energy?
Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the Sun that is harnessed using a range of ever-evolving technologies such as solar heating, photovoltaics, solar thermal energy, solar architecture, molten salt power plants and artificial photosynthesis.
It is an important source of renewable energy and its technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on how they capture and distribute solar energy or convert it into solar power.
A solar cell is a device that converts light directly into electricity using the photoelectric effect.
A photovoltaic system employs solar panels, each comprising a number of solar cells, which generate electrical power.
Photons in sunlight hit the solar panel and are absorbed by semiconducting materials, such as silicon.
Electrons are excited from their current molecular/ atomic orbital.
Once excited an electron can either dissipate the energy as heat and return to its orbital or travel through the cell until it reaches an electrode.
Current flows through the material to cancel the potential and this electricity is captured.