The Definition and Significance of Solar Panels

September 20, 2023

Surprisingly many people still wonder what a solar panel is, albeit the definition of solar panels being intuitive as one coming from its properties: systems, or photovoltaic devices, that convert sunlight into electricity. A solar panel system rarely comprises a single solar panel only because more panels provide greater power output.

Since all you need is active sunlight falling on the photovoltaic cells in sufficient quantities, the photovoltaic industry is omnipresent, with solar panels being used for private and industrial facilities.

Today we will talk about how solar panel systems work, what they consist of, their price, and where you can buy them.

A Brief Overview of the History of Solar Panels

The history of solar energy began in 1839 with the discovery of the photovoltaic effect by young Edmond Becquerel, which laid the basis for how a solar panel system works. However, it wasn’t until the definition of solar energy was published in Einstein’s article that the global community became aware of the new era called renewable energy. The great physicist even received the Nobel Prize for this article in 1922.

In 1883, the first solar panel appeared, invented from the thinnest layer of selenium and gold by Charles Fritts. There was a problem, though: the sunlight-electricity conversion was incredibly inefficient – 1% compared to today’s 15-20%. At the time, producing then-inefficient solar panels was very limited, with only a few lucky firstcomers owning them.

Below is a unique photograph of Charles Fritt’s solar panel installed on the roof of a New York building in 1884.

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As the years rolled on, solar panel production technology evolved. In 1941, Russell Ohl described how a silicon solar cell could be made, leading to innovations in the definition of a solar panel. Then he patented his silicon photo-emf element PN.

In 1950, the first ever silicon solar panels appeared, with an increased conversion rate of a still-low 4%. This was a real discovery that led to government funding for the technology. People finally became interested in how solar panels work.

In 1956, an advertising photo of the Bell solar system in the pages of Look Magazine was published, when the cost of silicon photovoltaic cells was $ 76 per 1 watt, just slightly over 350 times more expensive than now. It was at the Bell Company where three prominent scientists – Daryl Chapin, Calvin Fuller, and Gerald Pierson – worked.

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Between 1960 and 1970, larger-scale solar systems came about, still underwhelmingly inefficient and too expensive to manufacture. Long story short, solar panels use by homeowners and businesses could not be justified.

It took 40 years and a few scientific breakthroughs for the price of solar panels to decrease by 90%, with greater performance than ever before. Nowadays, most people can afford the use of solar panels, encouraged by significant savings on utility bills and the opportunity to receive benefits and dividends.

What Is In a Solar Panel?

To know more about solar panels, you need to know their contents.

  • A solar cell in a solar panel comprises a metal and a semiconductor, with the photovoltaic effect happening between the materials to produce electrical voltage and thus an electricity flow.

Without a doubt, the whole solar panel usage grows from one simple solar cell, which creates a powerful solar panel block if united with peers.

The Positive Effects of Using Solar Energy.

The purpose of solar panels is to provide electricity to homes, businesses, and industrial facilities, but this solar panel function is only one out of many.

Solar panels are famous for:

  • Environmental friendliness. Solar panels don’t produce a carbon footprint, as the system’s operation fully compensates for the accumulated hidden carbon footprint in the first couple of years.
  • Savings for the consumer. Provided that the solar panel details and the entire system as a whole will work for 20-25 years, the total savings will be about $ 20,000;
  • Renewability. Solar energy is a source of completely renewable energy.
  • Reducing the need for the fuel energy system. With widespread solar panel use, the expected reduction in carbon emissions is around 1.3-1.6 tons per year, reducing the risk of global warming.
  • Sustainability. As per the solar panel definition, panels consume energy from the sun, the most reliable energy source in the solar system.
  • Reducing the load on resources. Fuel power plants constantly require natural gas, oil, and coal supplies to operate, whereas a solar panel uses only sun rays to generate energy.
  • Long service. Any solar panel produced today has 20-25 years of warranty, with most solar panels operating for up to 30 years.
  • Reduced water pollution. Solar panels in production require less water than traditional energy sources. Likewise, the consumption during solar panels’ functioning is minimal.
  • Change in property value. Solar panels increase the value of any property, as having a solar panel system increases the attractiveness of a real estate investment.

Solar panels play an important role in increasing the number of jobs. Due to the significant growth in the popularity of the technology, more and more people are entering this field and getting new specifications at different stages of creating, installing, and maintaining panels throughout their life cycle.

What Is the Typical Price Range for Solar Panels?

What a solar panel is used for fully justifies its purchase, even for a hefty $20,000, the average price of a solar panel in America. For a watt, you pay $3 to $5, or $.1 per kilowatt-hour.

Are Solar Panels Going Up in Price?

Nope. On the contrary, they are becoming cheaper in production and operation. However, postponing the purchase may not be the best idea because inflation and economic instability could drive the cost of the solar panel up.

StateCents per kilowatt hour*Solar panel initial cost for a 6kW system**2022 tax incentives at 30%**
New Jersey13.21$14,520$4356
New York14,83$15,900$4770
North Carolina9.25$14,040$4212

Based on how a solar panel works, its cost will depend on the amount of sunlight, the need for electricity in a particular case, the installation cost, the preferential programs, and the panel’s type and characteristics.

Where Can I Purchase Solar Panels?

Now that you know what a solar panel does, you might want to try it. Before studying the solar panels’ description, contact the local technology community. They have all the information about installation rules, the best models, and places to buy a solar system without difficulty.

When buying panels, you need to think about the solar panel’s purpose and the set of rules within your state. They may include system installation restrictions, model selection nuances, and other subtleties.

The Most Well-Known Solar Panel Vendors in the United States

In the US market, there are the following representatives and models that you should pay attention to by studying solar panel information and not worrying about any downside risk:

CompanyUS locationUS market shareThe best solar panelsProduct Warranty
Hanwha QcellsGeorgia16.3%Q. PEAK DUO BLK ML-G9+25 years
Jinko SolarFlorida2.2%EAGLE 4 JKM390M-6RL3B12 years
Silfab SolarWashington4.3%Elite SIL-38025 years
Mission SolarTexas3%MSE330SR8K25 years
SolariaCalifornia2.3%PowerXT-400R-PM30 years
  • Hanwha Qcells has been a reliable supplier of solar systems since 1999. Read the solar panel description of one of its models – Q. PEAK DUO BLK ML-G9+, and you’ll fall in love with it. High efficiency, excellent performance, increased durability, weather resistance, and almost no disadvantages are the indicators to define this solar panel.
  • Jinko Solar is a major player in the market. They opened in 2006 and received many international awards. Their solar panels’ information has it all.
  • With Silfab Solar, you can install a reliable 800MW installation. Forty years of experience have helped them to make perfect installations.
  • Mission Solar installation’s power and robust design are among the main feature in their solar panel explanation of MSE330SR8K. Attractive design will also allow you to install elements of comfortable images while maintaining aesthetics.
  • Solaria gives the maximum warranty period for its installations. This is not just because the company is confident in the quality of its products – they have all the qualities necessary for the peace of mind their customers deserve.


What’s a solar panel for modern society? This is an opportunity to influence global warming by lowering our carbon footprint, moving away from fuel-fired power plants that adversely affect the environment, and significantly reducing utility bills.

We looked at how solar panel works, and how to use a solar panel, talked about the average cost per system, and reviewed the most reputable and reputable solar system vendors. Use this knowledge when choosing your solar station and enjoy the most reliable source of energy.

Jed Hilton
Jed Hilton

Jed Hilton, our Founder and CEO, has over a decade of experience in the solar industry. His innovative leadership and expertise in solar technologies guide our company's vision and strategy.

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