Solar electricity panels are generally called photovoltaic solar panels and are commonly known as solar PV panels. (PV is short for photo-voltaic)
Solar PV panels are different to solar hot water panels. Solar PV panels use the light of the sun to generate electricity where solar hot water panels use the heat of the sun to heat up water.
The particles of light that are continuously traveling from the sun to Earth are called photons.
It takes just eight minutes for photons to travel from the sun to our planet. (We orbit the Sun at an average distance of about 150 million km. Light moves at 300,000 kilometers/second)
A solar PV panel is made up of a series of solar cells connected together. When light strikes a PV cell, the photons from the light are absorbed by the PV cell. Electrons within the cell are dislodged by the photoelectric effect allowing the electrons to flow freely.
This flow of electrons is electricity – DC electricity.
For this DC electricity to be of use in a conventional home or business, it needs to be converted to AC power and this is done by an inverter.
The electricity coming out of an inverter is ready to be used in a home or business.