What is a solar panel or solar cell?

Solar Cell is a component that can be used to convert sunlight energy into electrical energy using a principle called the photovoltaic effect. The photovoltaic effect itself is a phenomenon in which an electric voltage arises due to a connection or contact of two electrodes, both of which are connected to a solid or liquid system when receiving light energy.

Therefore, solar cells are often referred to as photovoltaic (PV) cells. The photovoltaic effect was first discovered by Henri Becquerel (wikipedia.org) in 1839.

Basically, this solar cell is a photo diode that has a very large surface. The wide surface of the solar cell makes this solar cell device more sensitive to incoming light and also produces a voltage and current that is stronger than a photo diode in general. For example, a solar cell made of silicon semiconductor when exposed to sunlight can produce a voltage of 0.5V and a current of 0.1A.

Several things that can affect the performance of a solar cell are the material of manufacture, load resistance, sunlight intensity, and temperature. These things need attention.

Currently, many have applied this solar cell device to various types of use. We often encounter this solar cell device as a power source for calculators, toys, battery chargers to power plants, and even as a power source to drive satellites orbiting the earth.

• Solar Cell Working Principle •

Sunlight is made up of tiny particles called photons. When exposed to sunlight, photons which are particles from sunlight hit the silicon semiconductor atoms of the solar cell, giving rise to energy large enough to separate electrons from their atomic structure.

The separated and negatively charged electrons will move in the conduction region of the semiconductor material. In atoms that lose electrons, there will be vacancies in their structure, these vacancies are called holes. This hole has a positive charge.

If there are free electrons that are negative, it will act as an electron donor, this is also called an n-type semiconductor. While the semiconductor region with a positively charged hole and also acts as an electron acceptor is called a p-type semiconductor.

Between the positive and negative regions, or what is known as the PN Junction, there will be energy that pushes electrons and holes to move in opposite directions. The electrons will move away from the negative region, because these electrons are negatively charged. While the hole will move away from the positive region.

When a load is given in the form of a lamp or other electrical device between this PN Junction, it will generate an electric current which can later be utilized.

• Solar Cell Circuit •


As with batteries, solar cells can also be connected in series or parallel. Generally, each solar cell is capable of producing a voltage of about 0.45 – 0.5 V and the electric current that can be generated is 0.1 A. This can happen when the solar cell receives bright light.

Things like this are the same as batteries, solar cells arranged in series are able to increase the voltage or voltage. Meanwhile, solar cells arranged in parallel circuits are able to increase the current or current.

That’s a review of what a solar cell is, its working principle, and circuit. This is very important because it can increase our knowledge about the solar cell.