Thermal solar panels convert solar energy into thermal energy.
The solar panels, generally present on the roofs, capture the energy of the sun during the periods of sunshine.
The energy received by thermal collectors is transmitted to metal absorbers that heat a heat transfer fluid.
This fluid is used to heat, most often the water stored in a hot water tank.
Photovoltaic panels convert solar energy into electricity, using photovoltaic cells.
Mr. Edmond Becquerel discovered in 1839 that silicon has the property to generate electricity when it receives sunlight: this is the photovoltaic effect.
The photons of sunlight transfer their energy to the electrons of the semiconductor material, which start moving and create an electric current.