One of the confusing questions about solar panels among the public is, do solar panels use heat or light to generate electricity?
We see more and more solar panels on roofs, fields, street and traffic lights every day. Even people who were not involved in the business gradually began to understand the methods of generating electricity from the sun. But still, there is still confusion among the public in electricity generation from the sun. In particular, the issue of whether solar panels use heat or light in electricity generation is also discussed by many. In this content, I will explain this subject with a short and simple explanation.
In order to better understand this issue, we first need to know the methods of generating electricity from the sun. Solar electricity production methods can be examined under two separate headings as direct and indirect.
The solar panels we see around us are a photovoltaic technology and produce electricity directly from the sun. For this reason, we first need to understand photovoltaic technology .
What is Photovoltaic (PV)?
When the word photovoltaic is taken into consideration, “photo” means light and “voltaic” means electricity. In other words, photovoltaic means electricity production from light. This technology provides electricity generation from light with solar cells produced with semiconductor silicon. The panels created with these solar cells are also called photovoltaic solar panels, and the solar panels we see everywhere are photovoltaic solar panels. In other words, it is the most common system used in the production of electricity from the sun today.
The conclusion we will draw from the definition of photovoltaic is that solar panels produce electricity with light. In other words, even if there is no sun in the air, the panel generates voltage in the ambient light. Of course, since the radiation value is low, the current and power value are also low.
So Do Photovoltaic Solar Panels Generate Electricity With Heat?
The short answer to this question is of course no. On the contrary, the heat seriously reduces the efficiency of the solar panel. High temperature reduces the voltage produced by the solar panel. For example, while the radiation and sunshine duration are high in Adana, the temperature and humidity are also quite high. Therefore, solar power plant installed in a colder region with similar radiation and sun exposure times to Adana will be much more efficient. In short, high heat is the enemy of the solar panel and causes a serious decrease in efficiency.
There are also methods of generating electricity with heat from the sun . Electricity is produced by the turbine-generator system with the superheated steam obtained by focusing the sun beam with focusing solar power systems. Focusing power plants such as solar towers and heliostatic systems provide electricity generation from the sun with heat.
We also stated that electricity generation from the sun is divided into two methods, which are divided into two as direct and indirect. Direct electricity generating systems, namely photovoltaic systems, produce electricity directly with sunlight. The most important factor for these systems is light. Focusing systems, which are the method of indirect electricity from the sun, are also called indirect methods because they first heat a fluid and then produce electricity. Radiation and ambient temperature are very important in these systems.
As a result, solar panels provide electricity generation with light. Heat, on the other hand, reduces the electricity production efficiency of solar panels. The power generation performance of high light, low temperature solar panels is also high. Of course, it should be noted that the pollution level of solar panels should be low.