Photovoltaic Pv Solar Panels
Solar Photovoltaic Technology Basics
Solar cells, also called photovoltaic (PV) cells by scientists, convert sunlight directly into electricity. PV gets its name from the process of converting light (photons) to electricity (voltage), which is called the PV effect. The PV effect was discovered in 1954 when scientists at Bell Telephone discovered that silicon (an element found in sand) created an electric charge when exposed to sunlight. Soon solar cells were being used to power space satellites and smaller items like calculators and watches.
Traditional solar cells are made from silicon, are usually flat-plate, and generally are the most efficient. Second-generation solar cells are called thin-film solar cells because they are made from amorphous silicon or nonsilicon materials such as cadmium telluride. Thin film solar cells use layers of semiconductor materials only a few micrometers thick. Because of their flexibility, thin film solar cells can double as rooftop shingles and tiles, building facades, or the glazing for skylights.
Third-generation solar cells are being made from a variety of new materials besides silicon, including solar inks using conventional printing press technologies, solar dyes, and conductive plastics. Some new solar cells use plastic lenses or mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto a very small piece of high-efficiency PV material. The PV material is more expensive, but because so little is needed, these systems are becoming cost-effective for use by utilities and industry. However, because the lenses must be pointed at the sun, the use of concentrating collectors is limited to the sunniest parts of the country.
How does the PV process work?
A photovoltaic system uses solar panels to capture sunlight’s photons. These solar panels each have many solar cells made up of layers of different materials. An anti-reflective coating on top helps the cell capture as much light as possible. Beneath that is a semiconductor (usually silicone) sandwiched between a negative conductor on top and a positive conductor on the bottom. Once the photons are captured by the solar cell, they begin releasing the outer electrons of atoms within the semiconductor. The negative and positive conductors create a pathway for the electrons and an electric current is created. This electric current is sent to wires that capture the DC electricity. These wires lead to a solar inverter, which then transforms it into the AC electricity used in homes. The more solar cells you install, the more electricity is produced.
There are many advantages of solar energy, and photovoltaic systems are a powerful form of clean energy. A properly installed PV system will provide you with plenty of power, lower your electric bills, help during power outages and may even earn utility bill credits if excess energy is sent to your local power grid. Through this amazing technology, you can be confident in producing environmentally friendly and sustainable energy for your family.