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What are solar panels and how do they work?


Solar energy is the renewable energy with the greatest potential. All the experts say that the age of oil is coming to an end. Over the years we have managed to make the sun our best ally thanks to solar panels. For those of you who are new to solar energy, we are going to explain the two basic concepts.


What are solar panels?

Solar panels, also known as solar panels or photovoltaic panels, are technological devices used to convert the sun's energy, which consists of photons, into electrical energy.

The panels consist of photovoltaic cells which are generally made of crystalline silicon and/or gallium arsenide (semiconductor materials).

Most solar panels on the market are made of silicon, both monocrystalline and polycrystalline.

How do they work?

As mentioned above, photovoltaic solar panels capture solar radiation by exploiting the "photovoltaic effect" discovered by Edmond Becquerel more than a century ago. Solar cells are composed of a layer of silicon and phosphorous, which provide the negative charge, and another layer of boron, which provides the positive charge. In this way, solar cells have two charges and can therefore generate electricity. If there were not two opposite charges, electricity generation would not be possible.

To recap, photovoltaic panel cells composed of a semiconductor material with excess negatively charged electrons and a positively charged semiconductor material with missing electrons absorb photons when exposed to sunlight. In doing so, an electric current is initiated, allowing the excess electrons to move out of their atomic orbit and be launched into the electric field generated by the solar panels.

All the photovoltaic cells work together and generate a directional electric current that can be used in households thanks to the inverter.


Photovoltaic self-consumption

The possibility of using your own energy, not only makes you more independent from the big electricity companies, but also allows you to save, especially in the long term, and keeps you away from electricity increases. Here are some important facts to bear in mind.

Energy surplus

In grid-connected installations, you can sell to your electricity supplier the excess energy you produce and do not consume in your home or business. Get paid for the energy you feed into the grid! You can negotiate with your supplier the price per kilowatt (kW) of the energy you feed into the grid, although it is usually around €0.05/kW.

Connection to the network

These are installations that are connected to a private consumption network, but are also connected to a physical electrical connection with the transmission or distribution network, the Spanish Electricity Grid. In this modality we can also distinguish 2 types of installations: direct self-consumption and self-consumption with accumulation.


Isolated installations are connected to the interior of their own consumption network but do not have a physical electrical connection to the transmission or distribution network. Energy storage with batteries is essential in this type of installation in order to guarantee a 24-hour electricity supply.

Battery size

To size the batteries you need, you must take into account the maximum depth of discharge of the battery (to protect the battery life), the daily electricity consumption, the available solar radiation and the number of days of autonomy (4-6 days in isolated dwellings).


Do you have doubts?

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