Photovoltaic technology is GREEN, PROFITABLE, SET & FORGET! Solar Energy Panels are a real revolution!
I bet you can not find a reason not to install a system on your roof...
Photovoltaic technology is relatively new. It actually started evolving in 1954 when Bell laboratories built the first photovoltaic cell. Since then, research was funded to fulfil the needs of powering spacecrafts using photovoltaic solar energy panels. Only after 1970's energy crisis, this technology was taken seriously as an alternative to burning fossil fuels for energy production.
But, How do Photovoltaic (PV) cells work?
Well, they use the photoelectric effect to produce electricity directly from sunlight. Also, called as solar cells, they are made of a semiconductor, usually silicon. This material releases electrons when hit by the sun. Common solar cells measure about 10cm x 10cm and they provide from 5% to 18% power efficiency.
These cells are usually connected together to form photovoltaic panels or modules, so that they produce more energy. Then, modules are put together to form a photovoltaic panels array.
Solar cells harvest solar energy and produce direct current (DC). This means that it can be stored in batteries. However, we have to invert it to alternating current (AC) if we want to power a domestic appliance. A device called inverter can do that for us.
Want to do it yourself for peanuts! Learn more...
Solar photovoltaic systems have lots of advantages:
- Free electricity production
- Green energy production
- Reduce carbon emitions
- Silent energy production
- No moving parts
- Easy storage of harvested power (DC is directly stored in batteries)
- Minimal maintenance (Mainly for batteries and inverters)
- Low working costs
- High Return On Investment (ROI)
- Fast energy payback time (up to 1.5 years)
- Long working life and durability (up to 30 years)
But there are some disadvantages too:
- High initial costs Fortunately they are reducing day by day as technology evolves.
- Power production will vary depending on the weather Low sunshine and high temperatures will reduce the energy output.
Are you worried about some rumours telling that solar cells are toxic?
No need to do so...
Actually cadmium, which is used in a few PV cells such as thin film PV modules, can be a little toxic. Fortunately, only 5-10 g/m² of this metal is used on the photovoltaic solar energy panels, which is considered minimal. Thus, cadmium emitions are calculated about zero, and there is no reason to worry about this issue!
If you need more information, visit this FAQ about solar energy panels and photovoltaic modules.
Where are Solar Energy Panels applied?:
- Photovoltaic ParksHuge vicinities covered with photovoltaic solar energy panels are called photovoltaic parks. Parque Fotovoltaico Olmedilla de Alarcon, Parque Fotovoltaico Moura Alentejo and Parque Solar Merida/Don Alvaro are three of the largest in the world. Read more.
- Buildings Photovoltaic solar energy panels can be also installed to supply free electricity for buildings. These systems may be grid connected or off-grid / standalone.
- Vehicles Recently, solar powered cars and other vehicles have shown up mainly as science projects in schools. Yet, the first solar powered commercial car is not far away.
- Mobile Devices Lots of low energy consumption electronic devices, use one or more small solar cells to produce the electricity they need. The important thing here is not that they produce green or free power, but that they will never need a battery to be changed.
- Off Grid Villages A huge amount of houses in developing countries are still not grid connected. Photovoltaic solar energy panels do provide all the needs of each house, mainly for lighting and hot water throughout the day and night.
- SatellitesActually, photovoltaic cells' first application was the satellite powering. Solar panels are set and forgotten for ever.
Other interesting applications of PV panels:
- Roof Photovoltaic Shingles/Tiles Recently, companies have designed and released photovoltaic shingles to replace the existing tiles on a roof. This is really efficient because not only it is beautiful but it also reduces the initial costs if the system is installed when the house is built.
- Thin film flexible PV panels Photovoltaic ink is printed on thin films to create lightweight, flexible, inexpensive PV films. These are usually used on non flat surfaces. Unfortunately they do not provide high power efficiency, but they are the best solution to lots of problems.
- PV/T - Photovoltaic Thermal Panels New, high efficient technology which combines solar thermal panels and photovoltaic panels.
- UV Cells / Solar PV windows Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, designed UV solar cells which are transparent. They capture the uv radiation to produce electricity while allowing the visible sunlight to pass them. Thus, thin UV PV films are placed over windows, to produce green energy throughout the day. Clever ha!
- 3D Solar Cells This technology is extremely efficient thanks to its design. 3D structure manages to capture nearly all the sunlight which hits the cells. They are also smaller and lighter. Don't you think that someone is making a really good job out there!
- IR Solar Cells The truth is that IR cells use a different technology than solar cells. Such sheets and panels use the infra-red radiation to produce energy. Fortunately, IR radiation exist not only during the day but an night too. IR radiation can be drawn from buildings and electronic devices, while cooling them down. Can't you see the promising prospects of this technology too?
- Photovoltaic paint (on research stages) What is the main concept? Well, we have solar PV windows. Why don't we build solar PV walls? They actually intent to use PV ink to create a kind of PV paint...
- Solar roadways (on research stages) Roads are always hot in the summer! Hmmm, that means that sun is really mean to them. Well, that might be an advantage indeed...
Before navigating away from this page PLEASE CONSIDER that solar cell technology is currently the fastest-growing energy technology in the world!
This means that it really works and lots of people trust it. We trust it too!
You just have to get to know what photovoltaic solar energy panels are about and then you will see all the advantages they provide...