[…] How exactly do those panels work? Unlike power from a wind turbine or even a power plant, solar panels don’t seem to have any moving parts — so how exactly is that energy being produced?
The simple answer is that solar panels are made up of silicon and conductive metals, which form an electric field. When sunlight hits, the solar energy shakes electrons in the silicon out of their “natural” state, while a circuit attached to the panel is able to generate a current out of those electrons’ desire to return to their original positions within the panel. If this seems a little too complicated, don’t worry! Our animated visualization breaks down everything into easy-to-understand sections — you won’t need to remember your physics or chemistry classes to understand. You can see it for yourself directly below: