Solar photovoltaic technology is what is used in solar panels. Photovoltaic is often abbreviated as PV for simplicity. PV cells, which are also often called solar cells, use a nonmechanical method to convert sunlight (or certain other types of light) into electricity. That electricity can then either be fed directly into a grid system for use as a part of a large electrical system, or it can be used to charge batteries so that it can be stored for future use.
PV technology uses a semiconductor material that is able to absorb the photons from the sun. Sunlight is made of photons, which may be of varying wavelengths. The different wavelengths contain different amounts of energy. When a solar photon strikes a photovoltaic cell, it may either bounce off, pass through, or get absorbed by the semiconductor. Only the photons that are absorbed by the semiconductor are converted into electricity.
The higher percentage of photons that a PV cell can absorb, the more electricity that it can produce. Engineers in the PV industry are constantly trying to find ways to maximize the percentage of solar photons that a cell is able to absorb. The higher this percentage, the more efficient the PV cell is said to be. There have been significant advancements in PV efficiency, which has helped to make solar power a much more viable option in many situations.
In addition to improving the efficiency of the PV cells to maximize electricity production, the amount and quality of the sunlight in an area is going to have a major effect. This is why solar energy is much more common in places with consistent direct sunlight than in areas where there are often a lot of clouds or less direct light. As this technology continues to advance and evolve, it will almost certainly be used to produce a greater amount of the overall electricity used.
Solar panels must also be labeled! Labeling solar panels, especially since they deal with electricity will keep maintenance and installation crews safe while on the job. Make sure you know the rules for this special kind of labeling project.