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All About the Photovoltaics (PV) and Solar Panels

All About the Photovoltaics (PV) and Solar Panels
Solar cells produce direct current electricity from sun light, which can be used to power equipment or to recharge a battery.

The first practical application of photovoltaics was to power orbiting satellites and other spacecraft, but today the majority of photovoltaic modules are used for grid connected power generation. In this case an inverter is required to convert the DC to AC. There is a smaller market for off-grid power for remote dwellings, boats, recreational vehicles, electric cars, roadside emergency telephones, remote sensing, and cathodic protection of pipelines.

Photovoltaic panels based on crystalline silicon modules are being partially replaced in the market by panels that employ thin-film solar cells (CdTe, CIGS, amorphous Si, microcrystalline Si), which are rapidly growing and are expected to account for 31 percent of the global installed power by 2013. Other developments include casting wafers instead of sawing, concentrator modules, 'Sliver' cells, and continuous printing processes. Due to economies of scale solar panels get less costly as people use and buy more as manufacturers increase production to meet demand, the cost and price is expected to drop in the years to come. By early 2006, the average cost per installed watt for a residential sized system was about USD 7.50 to USD 9.50, including panels, inverters, mounts, and electrical items.

A San Jose based company, Sunpower, produces cells that have an energy conversion ratio of 19.5%, well above the market average of 1218%. The most efficient solar cell so far is a multi-junction concentrator solar cell with an efficiency of 43.5% produced by NREL in April 2011. The highest efficiencies achieved without concentration include Sharp Corporation at 35.8% using a proprietary triple-junction manufacturing technology in 2009, and Boeing Spectrolab (40.7% also using a triple layer design).



Source : The article appearing above is based on and adapted from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_panel. BOS is not affiliated with, and neither endorses, nor is endorsed by Wikipedia or any of the authors who contributed to this article. The Wikipedia content may be available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, version 3.0 or any later version, available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/ . Additional or other terms may apply. See Wikipedia Terms of Use for details. This webpage may use the Freebase schema, licensed under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/.

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