All about photovoltaic panels

A solar panel is a renewable energy production device, which converts solar radiation into thermal or electrical energy. A solar thermal panel converts solar energy into heat. A photovoltaic panel converts sunlight into electricity.  

1. Solar thermal panel

There are 2 types of thermal solar panels:

  • The individual solar water heater (ISWH), which mainly produces domestic hot water. The solar collectors are connected to a hot water tank.
  • The solar heating or combined solar system (SSC) is a solar water heater that is connected to several circuits. It manages the production of domestic hot water in a home, and also supplies your heating system.

How do they work?

Thermal solar panels capture solar energy via a heat transfer fluid (heat carrier).
The collectors of thermal solar panels are divided into 3 categories:

  • Glazed solar collectors: these consist of a black-tinted glass pane to attract and trap heat.
  • Unglazed collectors: less expensive, but more dependent on the outside temperature and therefore less efficient in winter. This type of collector is generally used to heat swimming pool water.
  • Sub-glazed tube collectors: these combine the same principle as unglazed collectors, the heat transfer fluid runs through the tube to collect the heat.

2. Photovoltaic solar panel

It converts solar radiation into electrical energy through the photovoltaic effect: it then generates electricity in the form of direct current.

How do they work?

They consist of silicon cells that capture solar energy and convert it into direct current. Thanks to an inverter or photovoltaic micro-inverter, this direct current is then converted into alternating current. The current will then be used to power your electrical appliances in your home.

Did you know that? Bourgeois Global offers a complete range of photovoltaic modules as well as inverters and micro-inverters.

3-Hybrid solar panel

Also known as " PV/T panels ", hybrid solar panels are a 2-in-1 solution for producing both electricity and heat. A hybrid system can generate electricity and hot water thanks to mixed solar collectors (photovoltaic + thermal).

How do they work?

They work in the same way as a conventional solar panel, but in this case both sides are used. On the outside, the cells capture the sun's rays to produce electricity, on the inside of the panel, thermal collectors capture the heat and reproduce it.

Now you know everything! 😉
Are you interested in photovoltaics but not sure how much it can cost you? Feel free to use our photovoltaic simulator right here:

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