How do photovoltaic solar panels work?

The term photovoltaic – from the Greek phos, which means light, and from the term voltaic, which refers to the field of electricity – dates from the mid-19th century, even before the first solar cell was manufactured. That first device it had an efficiency of barely 1% and decades passed until photovoltaic panels, devices that are capable of capturing solar radiation energy and transform it into electricity for its use, they began to find their first applications.

Curiously, these came from the hand of the space race when used in the first artificial satellites. Vanguard 1, launched in 1958 by the United States, was the fourth satellite ever launched into orbit and the first to use solar panels. Thanks to this, it was able to continue broadcasting for seven years despite the fact that its chemical batteries ran out in just 20 days. Currently, Vanguard 1 is the oldest satellite remaining in orbit.

Today, the growth of Solar photovoltaic What renewable energy marks an exponential curve, making it a common source of electricity, clean and cheap. According to International Energy Agency, electricity generation capacity from renewable energies will grow by 50% in five years. And 60% of that increase is attributed to the increase in the installation of photovoltaic solar panels.


Solar panels are devices that allow the capture of energy that comes from solar radiation and transform it into electricity that can be used. It should be borne in mind that, on occasions, this term is also known to solar collectors, that is, those that use solar energy thermally, to produce domestic hot water. On the other hand, photovoltaic panels are those that generate electricity using photovoltaic solar energy.


To know how photovoltaic solar panels work, it is necessary to take into account that the Photovoltaic cells of the panels are those that have the capacity to generate electricity from the impact of solar radiation. These cells, which are usually crystalline silicon or gallium arsenide, are mixed with other components such as phosphorus or boron that ‘dopan’ and modify the conductive properties. In this way, two parts are created, one with a negative charge, and the other with a positive charge. When exposed to the sun, photons (light energy) move electrons (electrical energy) and a direct current is produced.

Through a investorthe direct current is transformed into alternating current, that is, the one that commonly reaches homes.

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