How Do Solar Panels Generate Electricity?

  • By: David
  • Date: August 11, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

If you wonder how solar panels generate electricity, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll explain how Photovoltaic cells convert solar radiation into electricity, how Inverters convert DC electricity to AC electricity, and how shading affects the panels.

Keep reading if you are still unsure about how solar panels generate electricity. The more you know about solar panels, the better! But before you buy solar panels, read about the pros and cons of each type.

How Do Solar Panels Generate Electricity?

Photovoltaic Cells Convert Solar Radiation Into Electricity

Photovoltaic cells convert solar radiation into electric current by causing an electron to flow from its atom to the positive or negative end. When the amount of energy from sunlight is sufficient, the atoms will collide, creating a flow of electrons. The free electrons fill up the cell’s holes, producing an electrical current. Photovoltaic cells generate electricity in many applications, including solar roof panels, wind turbines, and solar water heaters.

In 1839, French physicist Edmund Becquerel reported the photovoltaic effect, in which light acted on a silver electrode to produce an electric current. It took another five years until workers investigating the photoconductivity of selenium could create the first solid-state photovoltaic device. In 1876, William Adams and Richard Day discovered the photocurrent in selenium, and Charles Fritts designed the first large area solar cell.

Inverters Convert DC Electricity Into AC Electricity

An inverter is an essential electrical device that can convert DC electricity from solar panels into alternating current (AC). This can be seen on a television screen and heard as a steady buzz. These devices are essential for solar panels because they produce alternating current (AC) while minimizing losses. Inverters also provide other grid services such as reactive power. They can also serve as backup power during blackouts.

Inverters are necessary for solar energy conversion because solar panels generate direct current (DC). While direct current can be stored easily, it is not compatible with power outlets in most buildings. Instead, they convert DC electricity into AC so that the energy can be used in various electrical devices in the home. The process is known as a microinverter. Here are some of the benefits of using an inverter:

Effects of Shading on Solar Panels

Effects of Shading on Solar Panels

If you’re considering installing solar panels on your home or business, you may wonder how to determine if your area is too shaded. In many cases, one shaded cell can drastically reduce the overall output of your panels. While one shaded cell may not seem like much, it can reduce the total output by 30-40%. Depending on how much shade your solar panels receive, they may produce half as much energy as they would if the panel had full sunlight.

The effect of shading on solar cells is similar for all panels. The impact of shading on individual solar cells is drastic. In addition, non-uniform shading reduces the overall output of the panels. The current of individual cells in a PV module is lowered when a shaded cell is in the middle of a string. When this happens, the current output of the entire panel decreases by half or even to zero.

Cost of Solar Panels

Before deciding whether solar panels are a suitable investment for your home, you should estimate how much electricity you spend each month. You can do this by logging into your electric company account and calculating the average of several past electricity bills.

You should consider six months to account for seasonal temperature changes and other changes in the cost of electricity. Assume that you will generate 100 percent of your electricity from solar panels and expect to pay approximately $125 per month or $1500 per year.

The cost of solar panels will depend on where you live and the sun your home receives throughout the day. The more sunlight you have, the greater the amount of energy your panels will produce.

You can expect the most significant savings depending on your state’s average sunlight hours. As the cost of electricity increases, you may also experience increased property value if you install solar panels. You can find out how much electricity you will produce with solar panels at your home on the EIA website.


Solar panels generate electricity by converting sunlight into electrical currents. This process occurs when light hits a unique material called a semiconductor. Inverters are necessary to convert the direct current (DC) produced by solar panels into alternating current (AC), which can be used in standard electrical outlets.

Solar panels are most effective when they receive full sunlight, but they will still produce some electricity even in shaded areas. The cost of solar panels varies depending on location, but they generally provide a good return on investment over time.

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