What is a Solar Panel?

A solar panel is one or more solar cells, or photovoltaic (PV) cells, that coverts the energy in light waves into electrical power.

These cells all share a same trait, they generate a voltage and current flow when a photon of energy in light is absorbed by the cell.  And it is this that used to power devices.

There are MANY different types of construction technique for creating a PV cell and they range from the relatively cheap and common Silicon based unit all the way to the very expensive and uncommon Gallium arsenide devices that are used to power satellites and even the International Space Station.

 The Youtube video below gives an overview of the operation of a PV cell.