Are you considering going solar but need to figure out how it works? Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic (PV) panels, are a vital component of any solar energy system. In this beginner’s guide, we’ll explain solar panel’s work and the science behind photovoltaic technology.  

What are solar panels? Solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells, which are essentially tiny solar cells that convert sunlight into electricity. These cells are made of silicon, which is a semiconductor material. When sunlight hits a solar panel, the energy is absorbed by the cells and causes the electrons in the silicon to become excited and move around.  

How do solar panels generate electricity? The movement of the excited electrons creates an electric current, which can be captured and used to power homes and businesses. However, the electricity generated by solar panels is direct current (DC), which is incompatible with the alternating current (AC) electricity used in most homes and businesses.

To use the electricity generated by solar panels, it must be converted into AC electricity using an inverter. The inverter converts the DC electricity into AC electricity, which can be used to power your home or business.

How efficient are solar panels? The efficiency of solar panels refers to how effectively they can convert sunlight into electricity. The efficiency of solar panels has improved significantly over the years, with some panels now boasting efficiencies of up to 22%.  

However, it’s important to note that the efficiency of solar panels can be affected by a variety of factors, such as the angle of the panels, the intensity of the sunlight, and the temperature of the panels.

What are the different types of solar panels? There are two main types of solar panels: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline solar panels are made from a single, continuous crystal of silicon and are considered the most efficient type of solar panel. Polycrystalline solar panels are made from multiple silicon crystals and are slightly less efficient than monocrystalline solar panels.  

In addition to these two types, there are also thin-film solar panels, which are made from thin layers of photovoltaic material. Thin-film solar panels are less efficient than monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels, but they are also less expensive to produce.

How long do solar panels last? Solar panels are designed to last for decades, with most panels having a lifespan of 25-30 years. However, the efficiency of solar panels can degrade over time, meaning that they may not be as efficient in the latter years of their lifespan.

Despite this, solar panels are still a long-term energy solution that can provide clean, renewable energy for many years.

How much do solar panels cost? The cost of solar panels varies depending on a variety of factors, such as the size of the system, the type of panels, and the location. On average, a solar panel system can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000. However, there are numerous government incentives and financing options available that can make solar panels more affordable.


solar panels are an important component of any solar energy system. They work by converting sunlight into electricity, which can be used to power homes and businesses. Solar panels are a clean, renewable energy source that can provide long-term energy solutions and help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. If you’re considering going solar, be sure to do your research and find a reputable solar installer like Captain Green Solar.

Talk to a Solar Expert Today

At Captain Green Solar, If you are a Sydney resident and ready to switch to solar energy, get a free quote today by sending us a message online or calling our friendly team on 1300 361 682.