Photovoltaics

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Nellis Solar Power Plant at Nellis Air Force Base in the USA. These panels track the sun in one axis.
Photovoltaic system "tree" in Styria, Austria

Photovoltaics (PVs) are arrays of cells containing a solar photovoltaic material that converts solar radiation or energy from the sun into direct current electricity. Due to the growing demand for renewable energy sources, the manufacturing of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has advanced considerably in recent years.[1][2][3]

Solar photovoltaics is growing rapidly, from a small base, to a total global capacity of 40,000 MW at the end of 2010. More than 100 countries use solar PV.[4] Installations may be ground-mounted (and sometimes integrated with farming and grazing)[5] or built into the roof or walls of a building.

World's largest PV power stations[change | edit source]

As of December 2010, the largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants in the world are the Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant (Canada, 97 MW), Montalto di Castro Photovoltaic Power Station (Italy, 84.2 MW), Finsterwalde Solar Park (Germany, 80.7 MW), Rovigo Photovoltaic Power Plant (Italy, 70 MW), Olmedilla Photovoltaic Park (Spain, 60 MW), the Strasskirchen Solar Park (Germany, 54 MW), and the Lieberose Photovoltaic Park (Germany, 53 MW).[6] Larger power stations are under construction, some proposed will have a capacity of 150 MW or more.[7]

Solar Cells[change | edit source]

A solar cell or photovoltaic cell is a device that changes light energy into electricity. Photovoltaics are best known as a method for making electricity by using solar cells to change energy from the sun into a flow of electrons. The photovoltaic effect was first noticed by Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel in 1839. "Photovoltaic Effect". http://www.mrsolar.com/content/photovoltaic_effect.php. Retrieved 24 May 2012. Eric Seale (July 11, 2003). "Photovoltaic Effect". http://encyclobeamia.solarbotics.net/articles/photovoltaic.html. Retrieved 24 May 2012. Practically all photovoltaic devices are some type of photodiode.

Solar cells can be used to power tools or to recharge a battery. The first actual request of photovoltaics was to power orbiting satellites and other spacecrafts, but today the most photovoltaic modules are used for grid connected power creation. In this case a tool called an inverter is required to convert the direct current to alternating current. Cells require protection from the environment and are usually packaged tightly behind a glass sheet. When more power is required than a single cell can give off, cells are electrically connected together to form photovoltaic modules, or solar panels. A single module is enough to power an emergency telephone, but for a house or a power plant the modules must be arranged in multiples as arrays.

Notes[change | edit source]

  1. German PV market
  2. BP Solar to Expand Its Solar Cell Plants in Spain and India
  3. Large-Scale, Cheap Solar Electricity
  4. REN21 (2011). "Renewables 2011: Global Status Report". p. 22. http://www.ren21.net/Portals/97/documents/GSR/GSR2011_Master18.pdf.
  5. GE Invests, Delivers One of World's Largest Solar Power Plants
  6. PV Resources.com (2009). World's largest photovoltaic power plants
  7. Mark Z. Jacobson (2009). Review of Solutions to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security p. 4.

Other websites[change | edit source]

Other pages[change | edit source]