How Do Solar Panels Work? (Physics of Solar Cells)

People say that solar power is the future of renewable energy, but how do solar panels work anyway? Join us as we explore the world of semiconductors using chemistry.

Does Electricity REALLY Flow?

What the HECK is Energy?

Why Are Some Things Transparent?

What is Electric Charge?

You Do NOT “Charge” A Battery!


Crash Course on Semiconductors:

Hot Mess on Solar Power:

The Good Stuff on Solar Power:

Veritasium on Transistors:



Advanced Theoretical Physics (eBook):



Daniel Bahr, Kenny Holmes, Ilya Yashin, Morgan Williams, Rick Finn, Drake Dragon (TMDrake), Anamnesia,
Kevin MacLean, Timothy Blahout, vittorio monaco, Neil.L.Steven, Al Davis, Stephen Blinn, Mikayla Eckel Cifrese, David Bronakowski, Evgeny Ivanov


Video on Semiconductors?

What Direction is Current?



Solar Arrays:

Bob Ross:

#RenewableEnergy #SolarPower #SolarPanels


  1. One question about the anti-reflective layer. If it eliminates the reflected radiation by destructive interference, wouldn't the energy from the reflected light still be lost?

  2. interesting video, just wanted to point out that the chemicals needed to make these cells are extremely toxic, and most solar panels are made cheaply in china designed to degrade. Nuclear is the only viable alternative to carbon fuel

  3. When we can actually harness 1000 watts from a square meter, this technology will take off. Get to work nerds!

  4. I really just wanted to know if solar panels work behind glass, more or less a small solar panel that’s sitting on the dash board of a van my brother owns. I’m working off the stupid concept that “it’s harder to get a sun burn behind glass than it is without glass.” Would the solar cell work better out side the car window or does it even make a noticeable difference.

  5. Very well done! I would've liked to see you get into why cells are in series on panels and parallel in arrays (to keep the current low to reduce loss and save cost on the interconnects, but while keeping the voltage manageable) but that would have been getting a bit far away from the the solar cells themselves, which was the point of the video. Maybe link to someone explaining the "next step" in understanding solar power?

  6. It would be interesting to see why panels' efficiency drops if a part of them is on the shade and the other under the sun, and also why temperature affects the efficiency.

  7. Thanks, the question is, how do scientests come up with these ideas? is it intuition or knowledge? do they lack knowledge to reach 1000w/m2 ?

  8. Bravo! The pace, humor, graphics/animation, and level of detail is a pleasure to watch and learn. I love how you stayed on target and answered the question. You have set the bar very high, thank you.

  9. My question is this, why not follow the design of leaves, they clearly have the optimal extraction strategy, we even have self assembling "circuits" nowadays, could just set one of those up on a cell, let it show us the optimal "circuit" for the cell and just slap a copy on every cell thereafter. Additionally, nature has always used green to cover it's circuits, there must be a reason for that, I would probably copy it off of bamboo since that appears to grow fast so likely needs to extract a lot of energy from sunlight.

  10. Could someone please explain how the charges are collected.

    If there's no voltage then how do the electrons know where to go

  11. The discussion based directly on the structure of the table of elements at 4:26 in the video is very good. Most other videos just gloss over the details of why Phosphorus and Boron are chosen as the doping atoms.

  12. Thanks. You did a GREAT job of explaining the functioning of the solar cell. I VERY much appreciated the use of the Periodic Table to explain the choice of doping chemicals. Thanks again.

  13. Wow. Never had someone explain semi-conductor in such an intuitive way. I knew already what a semiconductor was basically from school but it didn't quite made sense how the silicon interacted with the doped elements.

  14. I don't really understand that any reflection coding, when 2 electromagnetic waves cancle out how is the energy magically "won back"? I understand that this causes the panel to look dark (Blue) but I don't see how canceling the outgoing waves out "mitigates" the loss because of it… Can someone explain to me why this is the case?

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *