How Do Solar Panels Work?
Solar panels are tools used to capture energy from the sun and convert it into energy you can use in your house to power your toaster (or really anything that takes electricity). Solar panels are made of a few simple parts: silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing and wiring to link it all together. The silicon cells, or photovoltaic cells, are semiconductors and convert solar energy (sunlight) into electricity. Photovoltaic actually translates directly to light (photo) electricity (voltaic).
The absorption of this photovoltaic energy affects electrons, allowing them to flow freely in a current, which flows to metal inside the panel and then either into a battery for later use or an inverter to use immediately.
When the current is flowing it is called a Direct Current (DC), but the energy in your toaster uses an Alternating Current (AC), so the energy needs to change, that’s what an inverter does. An inverter takes the DC energy and converts it to AC, which can then flow to your toaster, and all your other appliances.
In conclusion: silicon cells absorb sun light, which is channeled and converted into usable AC energy through an inverter, then sent to your appliances or to a storage device like a battery for later use.