How can a solar cell turn sunlight to electricity?
In a crystal, the bonds are made of Electrons that are shared between each the atoms of the crystal. The light becomes consumed, and among the electrons that is in one of those bonds gets excited up into a higher energy level and can move around more freely than once it had been jumped. That electron may then proceed around the crystal freely, and we can get a current.
Imagine that you have a ledge, like a shelf on the wall, and you also take a chunk and you throw it up on that ledge. That’s like encouraging an electron into a higher energy level, and it can’t fall down. A photon , also know as a packet of electricity, comes in, and it bumps up the electron on the ledge and it stays there until we could come and collect the energy.
The energy efficiency of a standard crystalline silicon cell is in the 22 to 23 percent. Those that you typically find have the ability to be put on your rooftop are somewhat lower than that, somewhere between 15 and 18 percent. The most efficient, like the ones who go on satellites, might have electricity efficiencies approaching 50 percent.
As the years go on, the solar panels get more and more efficient and will hopefully be able to achieve 50% on the residential and solar installations.