Question: how do solar panels work?


  1. Hi Princess,

    Essentially the light causes electrons in the material to move around. This moving around of electrons causes an electrical current that can then be harnessed as a power source.


  2. Solar panels take advantage of the photovoltaic effect. This is quite close to the photoelectric effect, for which Einstein won the Nobel Prize in 1921 – he did the work in 1905, when he published this plus two other amazing papers, one on Brownian motion and the other on Special Relativity. Big year for Einstein – his Annus Mirabilis. In the photoelectric effect, particles of light known as photons knock electrons off the surface of metal. In the photovoltaic effect, the electrons are not knocked out of the material, but escape the bonds that hold them in their place and they become free to move through the material. This builds up a charge difference in the material which creates an electrical current.


  3. Guess I was too late here. Moving on 🙂