The operation of a photovoltaic solar panel
The operation of a photovoltaic solar panel is based on several elements :
- A module made of photovoltaic cells transforming the energy into continuous electrical voltage ;
- A mounting system, also called a roof integration system, that anchors the photovoltaic panel to the building ;
- A sheet metal flashing that establishes a tight junction between the panel and the rest of the roof.
In addition, the electrical equipment, in particular the inverter that transforms the direct current into alternating current that can power your home, or the public electricity distribution network.
How does a photovoltaic cell functions?
Photovoltaic cells are electronic components able to produce electricity from solar energy, and this due to the photovoltaic effect. This phenomenon is based on the behavior of semiconductor materials when they receive solar radiation. In fact, when the photons of the sunlight come into contact with these particular materials, they transmit their energy to the electrons of the semiconductors which then generate an electrical voltage. The most heavily used semiconductor material currently used by photovoltaic module manufacturers remains silicon.
How can the efficiency of a photovoltaic panel be measured?
The quantity of electricity that can be produced by a photovoltaic panel while it functions is measured by its peak power, a data provided by the panel manufacturers. It corresponds to the power that can be delivered by a photovoltaic installation under conditions of sunshine (1000 W per m2) and optimum temperatures (25 ° C). For an estimate of what this technology can do for you, depending on your situation and the specific characteristics of your home, check out our energy saving simulator. We have to keep in mind that the power actually emitted by a module will always be less than the number indicated, since its performance will depend on many criteria: its location, the efficiency of its photovoltaic cells, its implementation, orientation, maintenance, etc. Performance is a very important criterion when it comes to choosing a panel.