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    Photovoltaic solar panels

    Photovoltaic solar panels are composed of several solar cells that absorb light and convert it into electricity. These cells are made of semiconductors, which are often made from silicon or calcium. The science behind photovoltaic panels is what makes them unique. Photovoltaic solar panels convert sunlight to energy at the atomic level.

    Photovoltaic panelsWhen sunlight hits the non-reflective coating of the solar panels, the atoms are given enough energy to go through the outermost shell of the atom and flow through the semiconductor panel. This results in a current of electricity flowing through the photovoltaic panels, with the amount of electricity produced being dependent on the amount of sunlight hitting the photovoltaic panels.

    Photovoltaic panels and arrays

    Photovoltaic solar cells are assembled into modules, and modules are assembled into arrays. The module is the smallest replaceable unit in a solar array, and each module provides support for the others. The most commonly used construction for photovoltaic solar panels is a "glass-plate sandwich" which contains roughly 36 photovoltaic cells. For home use, an array of 10-20 photovoltaic solar panels throughout the home will be sufficient, but businesses need to roughly double that amount. Efficiency varies based on the manufacturing process, but generally an individual cell produced now generates electricity at 10-20% efficiency. The efficiency of the photovoltaic panels varies depending on details in the manufacturing process, as well as on the weather.

    Installation of photovoltaic panels

    Photovoltaic solar panels can be mounted on roofs or on the ground.  Photovoltaic panels come in many different shapes and sizes, which aid in their versatility. Photovoltaic panels typically face south in order to get the most sunlight. Photovoltaic panels are easy to install-- they only need direct sunlight, but that does mean that any obstructions surrounding the photovoltaic panels will have to be cleared.

    The only drawbacks to photovoltaic solar panels is that they're dependent on sunshine to function and they require a fair amount of space. Other than that, photovoltaic solar panels are a great way to reduce the family electric bill and go green.