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How do solar cells really work?

When I read articles on the workings of photovoltaics, the explanation tends to revolve around the idea of PN-junctions, and how an electric field separates charges (electrons and holes). In a Quora ...
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Doping density dependence on effective density of states Si pn junction

I would like to know how the doping density influences the effective density of states in a pn junction. For example the classic relations used to determine this is $$N_c = 2\left(\frac{2\pi m_n^* k_B ...
willempie's user avatar
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Calculating the efficiency of a solar cell based on the wattage of the lamp powering it [closed]

I am working to characterize some solar cells I have access to based on their material structure by measuring the IV curve of the cells. I can generally compare the cells by comparing their $P_{max-...
StudentOfMorpheus's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
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Net electric field inside a photovoltaic cell under load

In a photovoltaic cell is basically a pn-junction where free electrons are created by a photoelectric effect. Now I am interested to understand the electric field inside the depletion layer for ...
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Total flux is bigger than radiation flux, error?

The topic of this question is the collection of radiation from the sun. (renewable energy course) The total radiation flux is $$I_\text{total} = I_\text{direct}+I_\text{diffracted}+I_\text{reflected} ....
Root Groves's user avatar
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How does photovoltaic effect work?

If I understand it correctly, due to diffusion and something like a concentration gradient, a gate layer is formed at the PN junction (at P there is more space=holes, at N there are a lot of packed ...
John's user avatar
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How to determine the open circuit voltage of solar cells?

I am reading this paper which is about dye sensitized solar cell, but I do not understand its statement about the open circuit voltage of the cell (page 2242): In page 2242, the paper says that: The ...
蕭力諶's user avatar
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Would be possible to cover all the deserts with solar plates and satisfy the demand of electricity?

if we covered all the deserts with solar plates , would that be the solution to the energy crisis ? i mean put a solar plates in ALL the deserts of the earth to harvest all solar power
Jose Perez's user avatar
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Is it possible to relate the usage of types silicon in a solar cell to a phase diagram of doped Silicon? (Si-P, Si-B)

With reading this post (Why do we need pure silicon for a solar cell to be efficient?) I am seeing these new concepts I never thought were in a solar cell. With bare minimum google searches I thought ...
MiST's user avatar
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2 answers
153 views

True efficiency of an ordinary photovoltaic cell

While learning about antimatter and the conservation of energy, I found that fission reactions convert about 0.1% of mass into energy, fusion reactions convert about 0.7%. I also found a similar ...
manubrio's user avatar
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What is the major challenge in building a hybrid solar panel that uses both PE and PV effects?

In the current times, I see that most solar panels work fully on 'photo voltaic' effect (visible light -> semiconductor). The manufacturers even ensure to block UV as much as possible to increase ...
Janaaaa's user avatar
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Why did PV cell manufacturing move away from having all of the contacts in the lower end of a PV cell?

In modern day PV cells you usually have a silver-based grid on the upper end of the cell where it's exposed to the sun creating the optimization game of how thin/thick you can make your busbars and ...
Darren Rahnemoon's user avatar
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1 answer
52 views

Infrared solar pannels and thermodynamics

I was wondering if we could use background radiation to produce electricity (even a tiny amount). However, I've read somewhere that solar panels absorbing infrared (and lower frequencies photons) ...
Johncowk's user avatar
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How hot can the focal point of a convex lens get under the full sun?

I could not find accurate data online apart from CSP power generators that could focus sun rays to a single point and heat a liquid to 1000°C. I imagine many factors can affect the temperature, such ...
Samid's user avatar
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Difference between photodiodes and avalanche photodiodes

I'd say I'm quite aware of how avalanche photodiodes work but I'm unsure of how usual photodiodes work respectively how they differ from each other. Let's bring it down to: APDs are able to detect ...
Ben's user avatar
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On a PV cell, why do electrons travel through the copper rather than through the PN junction?

thank you all for reading me! I am currently reviewing the structure and working principles of a PV cell. I think I understand the following steps about how the PN junction is formed and what happens ...
Miguel Rodriguez's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
127 views

How to measure spectral irradiance vs wavelength for sunlight?

I am currently working on a project where I need to measure the spectral irradiance over a submerged solar panel at different depths of water. But I do not really know what can be used to measure it. ...
Kalpajit Roy's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
481 views

Indirect Bandgap Semiconductors vs Direct Bandgap Semiconductors

I have been looking into the foundational theory of solar cells, as a high school student. Due to this, a lot of the stereochemical and physical understanding I would need to specialise here ...
User's user avatar
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1 answer
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Is it possible to boost solar panel output using wavelength shifting materials?

Solar panels only produce energy from a small section of the total wavelength spectrum of light. I believe some panels have a mirrored back to pass light through the solar panel a second time. Much of ...
BeginnerStudent's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
33 views

Energy production of solar panels in space with received light [closed]

If there were 47.1% efficient solar panels (the MJ concentrator cells created by the NREL) in space where there is no atmosphere, I want them to generate as much power as possible, so I would like to ...
V. Roland's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
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Shockley-Queisser limit calculations

I am working through the paper, Detailed Balance Limit of Efficiency of p-n Junction Solar Cells by Shockley & Queisser, for my own research with perovskite solar cells. I am able to follow their ...
Earthling75's user avatar
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1 answer
148 views

Where is the excess energy going to when a solar inverter is operating a photovoltaic (PV) panel away from the maximum power point (MPP)?

The MPP is the maximum power point of a solar panel and a PV inverter will typically try to find this MPP to yield the maximum energy ouput. But sometimes it might be neccessary to operate the panel ...
jusaca's user avatar
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The tilting of solar cells and their efficiency

This is a thought experiment I am considering. It concerns putting solar panels on a flat roof. The question is whether one should tilt them. Whilst there are more mundane reasons for tilting them (eg ...
SvenForkbeard's user avatar
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2 answers
129 views

Antireflection coating: does reflection that destructively interferes lead to more transmitted light?

I was watching some media on how solar cells work, and the description of the antireflective coating confused me. According to this video and this Physics Asylum video, the antireflection coating is ...
Roy's user avatar
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2 answers
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What happens to the Fermi level of a metal/semiconductor under bias?

When a metal/semiconductor junction is placed under bias, the Fermi level of the semiconductor shifts horizontally up or down increasing or decreasing the potential barrier. I was wondering if this is ...
Willem Verheijen's user avatar
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0 answers
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Why are most solar panel rated at 12 volts or 24 volts? [closed]

Most solar panel come in 12 volts or 24 volts, why?
Curious Flower's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
1k views

Convert $\rm Lux$ to $\rm W/m^2$

I use four LED matrix (UV, green, red, blue) to irradiate a solar panel with an area of S at a distance. The matrix is located at a distance l from the solar panel. I want to plot the volt-ampere ...
Сергей Корягин's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
51 views

Will the heat generated from solar panel electricity eventually generate wind energy?

I'm curious about limits for extracting solar energy, but I never studied this stuff so I'm going to speculate a lot. My first question deals with the things like wind energy. I assume this energy is ...
chris's user avatar
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1 vote
1 answer
129 views

Does a UV flashlight work to excite a solar panel to generate current in the same way natural sunlight would?

So I wanted to show some young kids solar panels. In the sunlight they work great, but obviously inside they won't work. I wanted to ask if I bought an UV flashlight from amazon like here would this ...
Vogtster's user avatar
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2 answers
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What is the ideal amount of shade for a house with air conditioning and solar cells on the roof? [closed]

Considering a mid latitude (e.g. in Virginia), south facing, single family house with two stories, AC cooling and solar power on the roof: What would be the ideal level / amount of shade for the house ...
SarahJuliet1510's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
129 views

Possibility of combining photovoltaics and solar thermal energy

In a private setting, photovoltaics and solar thermal energy are often harvested on the home's roof and roof area is limited. So, I thought about combining both, i.e. mounting solar collectors ...
oliver's user avatar
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1 answer
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What method of collecting concentrated solar energy is most suitable for a Dyson swarm?

A Dyson swarm is a collection of solar collector satellites around a star, capturing the majority of its light. Each solar collector is essentially a mirror. Each group of solar collector satellites - ...
JS4137's user avatar
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-1 votes
1 answer
47 views

Maximum solar power on moon [closed]

What is the maximum power that could be generated by covering the moon in solar panels? Assume the entire lunar surface is covered and that the currently most efficient solar panels are used.
Mathew's user avatar
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Bimolecular recombination: How can it be non-radiative for $e$-$p$ pair?

I have understood that the bimolecular recombination of electrons and holes can be radiative when they meet each other, However, I also heard that there are defect sites that can accept electrons and ...
seyitliyev's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
357 views

How do anti-reflection coatings in solar cells make light stay inside a solar cell?

We know that silicon is too shiny to absorb incoming light that's why anti-reflection coating is needed to make the incoming light stay inside the cell. However, the problem is, even though the cell ...
PhysicsSolvesAll's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
70 views

Best latitude to harness solar power during June?

What is the best latitude at which to place a solar panel during the month of June? Assume for simplicity that any any given latitude there is a place without clouds or large mountains to obstruct the ...
Mathew's user avatar
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13 votes
3 answers
4k views

What is different in the morning sunlight so it doesn't produce as much electricity as at noon?

Consider I have a solar panel setup as in the above picture. The top sketch is sketching sun rays in the early morning around 6 AM in a clear bright sky. The bottom sketch is sketching the sun ray ...
AirCraft Lover's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
39 views

Light-driven Carnot engine

Based on the definition of the Carnot engine, it is reversible, runs in a cycle, and is frictionless, which would result in the conclusion that the Carnot engine is the most efficient engine. The ...
Jack's user avatar
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1 vote
0 answers
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Thermodynamic efficiency limit of solar cells instead of Shockley–Queisser limit

I am considering the efficiency limit of solar cells, at first, it occurs to me that there should be a thermodynamic efficiency limit and try to reduce the entropy production as much as possible, just ...
Jack's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
88 views

Is a photovoltaic powered air conditioner neutral to global warming?

Is my assumption correct, that Power generated by photovoltaic solar panels reduces heat energy from the sun (according to the PV cell efficiency of around 20%) on the area they cover An A/C ...
Bachi's user avatar
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0 answers
88 views

Why does the voltage of a solar panel change as the tilt angle changes?

I performed an experiment where I linked a solar panel to a constant resistance, and took readings of the voltage and current every 10 minutes between 11:00 and 18:00. I performed this for 0, π/6, ...
Saumya Shah's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
71 views

Does a 1m2 solar panel really provide more power than 1l/s of water falling 1m?

I'm trying to develop an intuition for small scale power, in the context of off-grid power. Are these sums correct? A 10% efficient solar panel, of one square meter, with incident 1kW sunlight, will ...
fadedbee's user avatar
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1 answer
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Why does higher temperature lead to lesser efficiency of photovoltaic cells?

I have understood that band gap decreases but why does that decrease lead to lower efficiency?
KRSH PUNJABI's user avatar
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0 answers
58 views

Why are polycrystalline solar cells shinier than monocrystalline solar cells?

Being shiny reduces the efficiency of the solar cells. Additional to the grain boundaries that polycrystalline solar cells have that gives resistance to the current flowing in them, they are shinier ...
PhysicsSolvesAll's user avatar
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4 answers
1k views

Is silicon a semiconductor or insulator?

I have read that pure crystalline silicon is an insulator because it has a such covalent bond that very tight and no free electrons available for conduction bands. They all are bonded with other ...
PhysicsSolvesAll's user avatar
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0 answers
44 views

Does open-circuit voltage decrease when resistance increases in a solar cell?

In a solar cell, if resistance were to somehow increase (maybe heating up the panel), would that contribute in any meaningful way in decreasing the open-circuit voltage?
Saumya Shah's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
698 views

Why are monocrystalline solar cells more efficient than polycrystalline solar cells?

What causes monocrystalline silicon to be more efficient than polycrystalline silicon in the production of a solar cell? I have read this answer on Reddit: In general, single crystal is always better ...
PhysicsSolvesAll's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
340 views

Why do solar cells need to be square-shaped? [closed]

There were circular solar cells 30 years ago. Why do we have square-shaped solar cells now? Why square? Furthermore, Why do monocrystalline solar cells have rounded/cropped edges? Taken from: https://...
PhysicsSolvesAll's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
81 views

How do solar panels lose efficiency and die over time?

Why do solar panels have a limited amount of lifespan? What goes wrong in them by the time passes? What changes happen in them that causes it to lose efficiency? What are the factors? It seems to me ...
PhysicsSolvesAll's user avatar
-1 votes
1 answer
59 views

In a solar farm why isn't there a single gigantic solar panel across all the farm surface, rather than small individual separate panels? [closed]

Why don't we just cover all the farm surface with one solar panel? Why is there a necessity for making separate but multiple panels rather than one large panel that covers the whole necessary space?
PhysicsSolvesAll's user avatar

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