Power System

How do solar panels supply energy for spacecraft?

What's electron flow?

Electron flow is what we think of as electrical current.  We are familiar with two types of electron flow, Direct Current, or DC, and Alternating Current, or AC.  Direct Current is the kind of electrical flow we get from batteries and solar cells, when electrons travel in only one direction.  On the other hand, AC is the kind of electrical flow we get from a typical electrical outlet in a home.  AC is when the electrons flow in two directions, from the positive to the negative terminal and from the negative to the positive terminal, 'alternating' between the two directions.  (Your lights will light up regardless of the direction of the electron flow.)

A lot of people think of electron flow as electrons moving along a wire freely like cars go down a highway. Actually, it works a little differently. Any conductor (thing that electricity can go through) is made of atoms. Each atom has electrons in it. If you put new electrons in a conductor, they will join atoms, and each atom will spit out an electron to the next atom. This next atom takes in the electron and spits out another one on the other side.

All of this happens faster than we can keep track of, which is why the light will go on as soon as you turn it on.

How do solar concentrators work?
How do solar panels convert the Sun's energy into electricity?
What are batteries?

What's a circuit?
What's an electron?
What's electron flow?
How do batteries work?
What does electrically charged mean?

How are solar panels made?