1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Store Solar energy ?

  1. May 20, 2009 #1
    I have just purchased 20 2w solar panels, i am brand new at this kinda stuff but i am very very interested in how it all works. can anyone help me, or explain how its done basically i would like to be able to charge a battery with solar panels.. thanks ..
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2009 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Do you have more information, such as the voltage they produce? Solar panels, as far as I know are made from semiconductor material. The light frees up electrons which provide the current. The way they are made causes them to have diode like properties so the current can only flow in one direction.
  4. May 27, 2009 #3

    Here is an important tip on storing solar energy.

    The idea is to capture the sun’s heat. Heat, unlike electric current, is something that industry knows how to store cost-effectively. For example, a coffee thermos and a laptop computer’s battery store about the same amount of energy.Solar thermal systems are built to gather heat from the sun, boil water into steam, spin a turbine and make power, as existing solar thermal power plants do — but not immediately. The heat would be stored for hours or even days, like water behind a dam.
  5. May 27, 2009 #4
    Solar panels are relatively simple.

    Solar panels are made out of 2 silicon panels (not to be confused with silicone) and a panel colored black.

    The 2 silicon panels are "doped" with a certain atoms. One of the silicon panels are laced with Phosphor-atoms and the other with Boron-atoms. The one with Phosphor is then has more electrons than normal which makes the panel negatively charged because it has free negative charges. The Boron makes is so that the other panel has less electrons than normal which will make it positively charged because there are "holes" between the silicon atoms. These panels are called N-type silicon and P-type silicon (negative and positive silicon plates). The N-panel is then placed on top of the P-panel and the black panel is placed on top of the N-panel (the black panel is only there to increase the effect, since black attracts solar energy). When the N-panel touches the P-panel, the N-panel is then "hyped" and the free electrons tries to go over to the P-panel to fill the missing holes between the silicon atoms. The two panels then switch charges. The P-panel becomes negatively charged and the N-panel becomes positive (since the P-panel gains electrons and the N-panel looses electrons). When these two panels get "hyped" when they touch, they create a barrier which makes electrons unable to pass between the N-panel to the P-panel after they switch charges. Now you might ask, where does the solar energy comes into the picture? When the sun rays hit the black panel and the electrons are kicked away from the P-panel to the N-panel, which then again switches the charges, but after this second change, they can't go anywhere. This is why we have wires connected to the two panels, this way the electrons will be able to return to the P-panel. In the "outer"-circuit the electrons will deliver energy to which ever device the wires are connected. The sun energy have now become electric energy.

    From the device, the electrons will go to the P-panel which will make it negative again, this way the process is restarted and will be able to go around and around almost indefinitely.

    If you bothered to read that wall of text, then you know how solar panels work.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook