Photovoltaic Solar Panels: Composition And Operation

Solar Power

Solar energy is attracting more and more individuals wishing to produce their own electricity. Before getting equipped, take a look at how photovoltaic solar panels work, their composition and the way they produce energy, in order to choose the most efficient equipment according to your situation.


Depending on its composition, your solar panel may offer variable performance. The composition of its cells is particularly important: they are the ones that capture the sun’s rays and convert them into energy.

General composition of a photovoltaic panel

A photovoltaic solar panel consists of a supporting structure, an inverter, distribution components, as well as a production meter. Each of these “peripherals” is essential to operate the panel and recover energy. The panel is covered with semiconductor cells, usually made of crystalline silicon. These cells are assembled together and held between two tempered glass plates. A junction box as well as cables connect the panels to each other to compose a photovoltaic structure.

Monocrystalline, polycrystalline, amorphous cells: what’s the difference?
The cells that line solar panels can be:

monocrystalline: these are the most efficient cells, but also the most expensive;
polycrystalline: they offer the best value for money currently on the market. They are also the most used cells;
amorphous (or thin films): they make profitable the solar rays even when they are weak, and they are less expensive to produce than the mono and polycrystalline cells. However, they have a major drawback: their poor performance in full sun and their noticeable loss of efficiency over time.


A sine qua non for their operation, your photovoltaic solar panels need, above all, sunlight. Their semiconductor cells convert solar energy to produce direct current. This current then passes through an inverter, a box acting as a transformer, which converts the direct current into alternating current. The electricity can then be consumed or sold to an energy supplier

For an optimized yield, several conditions must be met:

The surface covered by the solar panels must be at least 19 to 20 m2, without projected shadow;
The roof must have an inclination of 30 to 35 °, and be oriented due south.
Thanks to its optimized composition and operation, a photovoltaic installation can be profitable even if you do not live in the south of France: call on a qualified professional who will advise you on how to best install your panels and obtain the best performance.

To ensure the optimal functioning of your photovoltaic panels, regular maintenance is essential. It is simply a matter of cleaning the modules of the panels and making sure they are functioning normally. A simple gesture which can extend the longevity of your installation but which must however be carried out by a specialist, the very slippery modules being able to cause falls.



Solar panels are systems capable of capturing energy from the sun’s rays and converting them into electricity.

Equipping your home with solar panels has a cost that can be partly financed by public aid. Indeed, the State has put in place several aid systems for the installation of solar panels in order to encourage the French to use renewable energies.


Solar energy is captured through modules (large rectangles) covered with cells of silicon, a semiconductor material. The capture and transformation of solar energy takes place as follows:

Photons (sunlight) hit cells.
They transmit their energy to the electrons contained in the panels.
The electrons move and produce a continuous electric current.
The inverter then transforms the direct current into alternating current and thus makes it usable on the electrical network or in a building. Electricity can either be supplied to electrical appliances in the house, be sold to an electricity distributor, or be stored in a battery for later use in the house (for example at night, when not in use). there is more sun).


Solar panels are traditionally installed on the roofs of houses or buildings. The performance of solar panels is optimized when there is plenty of sunshine all year round and the roof:

is facing south;
offers an inclination between 30 and 35 °;
has no gray area.
Depending on the size of the land and the site’s energy needs, they can also be installed on ground supports. For example, it is possible to attach solar panels to a garden shed or invest in a solar shade that can be used to protect a vehicle from bad weather.

Did you know ?

Do you want to produce electricity for your personal consumption or sell the excess energy? Total supports you in your project thanks to SunPower , its subsidiary producing the most efficient photovoltaic solar panels in the world. Discover the many advantages of these panels producing up to 70% more energy than the so-called conventional photovoltaic panels.

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