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What is solar power?

Solar Electricity is by far the most practical setup for electricity production. You do have other options such as HYDRO and Wind Generators but here I want to explain the ins and outs of solar power installations in an easy to digest way. 

Every person that dreams of living off-grid would want to consider installing some kind of electrical production. The best form is probably the popular installation of solar panels. 

Where is solar power from?

Solar power is the production of electrical current by exposing special silicon-based panels to the sun. The power of the Sun can be used for many other forms of energy including heat but here we are more concerned with electricity.

The Sun energises solar panels

The Sun is basically a giant reactor. This large spinning gas and plasma filled sphere releasing 384.6 Yotta watts or 400 trillion trillion watts. That is a lot of energy which we have found a way of capturing and storing. 

How do solar panels work?

Every photon that is emitted from the Sun causing the ‘Photovoltaic effect’. The Photovoltaic happens withing slices of a silicon wafer. 

Within two silicon wafer one later is negatively charged and one is positively charged. The Sun’s photons energise the semiconductor wafer and agitate lose the electrons from the atoms. The electricity is produced when those loose electrons are moved by the electric field surrounding the silicon wafer. 

How can I use solar power?

Solar power is available to everyone but there are some considerations you might want to include in your plans. 

Types of solar panels

For the generating of the electric current, you have three main types of solar cell available to you.

  • Monocrystalline
  • Polycrystalline
  • Amorphous


For most of us, the Monocrystalline solar panel is the ‘gold standard’. The key difference is that the wafers are cut from ‘single-crystal silicon’. The extra room that is provided by this superior wafer generates an improved flow of electricity. The improvement is a direct result of the extra room making for an efficient transfer of DC current. Aesthetically the Monocrystalline solar panel is black colour. 


A lower-cost option is the Polycrystalline solar panel. These are slightly cheaper but also less efficient than the monocrystalline. Aesthetically the Monocrystalline solar panel is black colour.

The key physical difference between the mono and poly is that the silicon is reconstituted. Polycrystalline solar panels still use silicon in their construction, the main difference is that the silicon bar is made from tiny fragments of silicon. Due to the physical makeup of the polycrystalline solar panel, they are less room between, the crystals for the electrons to move. This is a less efficient method of moving electrons. 

Amorphous solar panels

Thin layer amorphous solar panels have been around for decades but have been considered as inferior compared with polycrystalline or monocrystalline. Today they have made a bit of a comeback. The reason for this is that instead of being bonded to glass the thin silicon is flexible. Ideal for making flexible solar panels and popular for the marine industry or even motorhomes.

My conclusion on understanding solar panels

All of the above options will produce electricity but if I had a choice good monocrystalline solar panels are the best option. Understanding how these panels work and the relationship between the Sun and the silicon wafer is interesting. But ultimately basic information is all you need to make a great system.

if you want to learn more about surge power and how to work our your capacity

About the Author

My experience with building solar systems is based on my electrical installation qualifications. This helped me make green power decisions which have allowed me and my wife to produce as least 70% of our energy requirements?

By Marcus Kett

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