Photovoltaic Solar Energy is a renewable energy source that basically transforms radiation or solar energy into electricity. It is estimated that the global photovoltaic production covers between 3.5% and 7% of the existing electricity demand.

This way of generating energy, once installed and in operation, does not generate any type of greenhouse gases or other types of pollution. In addition, it is very easy to scale the installation to suit the needs of your users.

Its main drawbacks are that it needs direct sunlight to maximize its efficiency and that, normally, the hours of maximum solar irradiation do not coincide with the hours of greatest electricity demand.

The photoelectric cell

It is the basic element of photovoltaic panels and constitutes the key element of the entire electricity generation process.

Briefly, the function of photoelectric cells (also known as cells, photocells or photovoltaic cells, among others) is to transform light into voltage and electrical current. A phenomenon that some semiconductors manifest and that is called photoelectric effect.

This effect, although it was discovered by Heinrich Hertz in 1887, would not have a theoretical basis until almost 20 years later in the article “Heuristics of the generation and conversion of light” published by Albert Einstein.

Operating principle

The principle behind this technology, without going into excessive detail in its physical foundations, is based on the ability of a photon to excite it, when it hits a semiconductor atom, thus releasing an electron and creating a hole.

The electrons usually find a new hole to fill quickly, dissipating the energy contributed by the photon in the form of heat.

The peculiarity of the materials that make up photoelectric cells is that they force electrons and holes to move instead of recombining at the moment. In this way, a potential difference is created, as if it were a battery.