What is solar photovoltaic energy and how does it work?
Solar photovoltaic energy or PV solar energy directly converts sunlight into electricity, using a technology based on the photovoltaic effect.
When radiation from the sun hits one of the faces of a photoelectric cell (many of which make up a solar panel), it produces an electric voltage differential between both faces that makes the electrons flow between one to the other, generating an electric current.
There are three types of solar panels:
- Photovoltaic, generators of electricity to be supplied to homes
- Thermal, installed on houses to receive the sun directly
- Thermodynamic, which operate in varying weather conditions, i.e. at night, when it’s raining or cloudy
When photovoltaic technology first began, it was used to provide electricity to satellites. According to APPA (the Spanish Association of Renewable Energy Producers), development of photovoltaic panels sped up in the 1950s and has now become an alternative to the use of fossil fuels.