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How Solar Cell Works and Ways to Make It

Solar cell has been promoted by a safe alternative of energy source. As electricity source is limited and the use of it cause adverse effects to the earth. People currently move into alternative energy sources which is more natural. 

Taking benefit of the sun as an energy source, people start to use this solar energy device in their homes to support their daily activities. This helps people to reduce their electricity consumption. People also use this device to operate public facilities such as traffic lights.

Getting to Know about Solar Cell

Since this device is not currently widely used, perhaps some people don’t know about it and its function. That’s why it is important to know about what this device is, how it works, and how to make it so it can ease your daily activities. 

What is Solar Cell?

Solar cell refers to a device that can convert light energy from the sun into electrical energy. This converting process is called a photovoltaic effect which makes people also call it a photovoltaic cell. Most solar cells use silicon as their main material which increases its efficiency and reduces the making cost. 

Different from both fuel cells and batteries, this device doesn’t include any chemical reactions or fuel to generate electric power. It also doesn’t feature moving parts like what we usually find in electric generators. 

People often arrange this device in large groupings which are popularly called arrays. Arrays consist of thousands of single cells which serve as a central electric power station. Then, it works by changing sunlight into electrical energy and distribute it for residential, commercial, and industrial uses. 

It might come in a smaller configuration as well and use by many people on their rooftop to substitute the use of conventional electric supply. People often call this a small configuration for residential use, solar panels. 

It serves as alternative power sources in remote locations where an electric power source is not available to support their daily activities. Many consumer products also use solar cells including electronic toys and portable radios. 

What is the Difference between Solar Cell and Solar Panel?

Solar cells and solar panels are both integral and closely related parts of a solar energy system. Solar cell is the smallest functional unit or building block of electrical generator which produce electricity by utilizing solar energy as its input energy while solar panel contains the components of solar cells which turn these electrical energy directly from solar energy through photovoltaic effect into usable power.

How does It work?

In order to work, you just simply place it in the area that gets direct exposure to sunlight. As the cells receiving sunlight, it allows light particles to expel electrons from the atoms and producing electricity flow. Solar panels encompass numerous smaller units, namely photovoltaic cells. 

A photovoltaic cell is formed by double slices of semiconducting materials, most likely silicon. This material is similar to use in microelectronics. During the converting energy process, photovoltaic cells will build an electric field which happens as two opposite charges are not together. 

To establish this field, manufacturers often support silicon with other materials which act as positive and negative charges. Precisely, the top layer of silicon uses phosphorus to add the number of electrons. On the other hand, the bottom layer uses boron that produces fewer electrons. 

Phosphorus acts as a negative charge while boron is a positive charge. Both establish an electric field at the junction in the middle of silicon layers. When the light particle sets the electrons free, the electric field will shove the electron away from the silicon junction. 

The other component in the solar cell transforms these electrons into usable power. On both sides of the cell, there are metal conductive plates that can collect electrons and distribute them to wires. It enables the electrons to flow like other sources of electricity. 

Solar power technology is currently used to make other devices for various uses such as solar thermal. It not only uses the power of sunlight to form electricity but also to heat either water or air. 

How to Make Solar Panel

You can make simple solar cell at home from the copper sheet and salt water to produce a photoelectric effect. Hold a flaming propane torch and use another hand to hold the copper sheet with a tong. Move the copper sheet into the flame to heat the copper.

Do this process until the part underneath the flame turns into red color for a few minutes. Put the copper sheet in a fireproof place. Use tong again to put other areas of copper sheet into flame. Then, let it cool. 

Prepare the wiring at each end of the copper sheet. Use a copper wire and clamp it to the end of the copper sheet with an alligator clip. Choose the clean area of copper sheet to attach the wire. 

Add salt into a cup of water and wait until it doesn’t dissolve anymore. Put a few drops of salt water into various flamed areas in the copper sheer because they will present different results. 

Then, wire one end of the flamed copper sheet which has been dropped with salt mixture. This simple solar energy device now is ready to use. 

Understanding the solar cell and how it works helps you to know the principles of making this device. Hence, you can make simple solar panels at home for alternative use.