Solar electricity is derived from the conversion of sunlight through (PV) photovoltaic technology. Photovoltaic systems utilize the power of sunlight to power electrical equipment, such as lights, computers, and household appliances. The photovoltaics process solar energy that is free, into solar power directly. Solar energy is the most plentiful source of energy in the world, but it should be noted that solar energy is not the same as thermal technology that powers solar electricity, which is passive. This technology is commonly used for the production of hot water and space heating.
The basic operation of PV cells brings together a minimum of two thin layers of semi conducting material, most often silicon. When light is exposed to these layers, electrical charges are generated, being conducted away through metallic contacts, in the form of a direct current. Single cell electrical output is small; therefore, multiple cells are encapsulated and connected together behind glass, to form panels, or modules. The PV panel is the common denominator of PV systems, and any amount of panels connected together give the desired output of electricity.
There are several PV cell types. The cells made out of Monocrystalline silicon, are the most efficient of the available PV cell technologies. They have an efficiency rate of about 15%, and have a complicated manufacturing process that makes them more costly than other PV cells. Multicrystalline cells made of silicon are more cost effective to manufacture. However, they carry a generally lower efficiency rate, at about 12%, and create a granular texture. Amorphous silicon can be used in a wide range of ways, such as flexible and rigid substrates. It is less efficient at about 6%, but is easier to produce, at a lower cost. The other PV cell types are thick films of silicon, copper indium diselenide and cadmium telluride. As you can see, there are many materials currently used to produce PV panels.
Solar electricity is used to power city buildings and remote stations that relay telecom applications. When connected to localized networks, solar electricity can be sold to supply companies, or used immediately, during daylight hours. In the nighttime, with lower solar electricity generation, the power can be repurchased from the localized networks. The grid therefore becomes a storage system for solar electricity, negating the need for battery storage inclusion in PV systems.
Photovoltaic equipment that makes up solar electricity panels also contain no parts that move, and consequently needs minimal maintenance. Solar electricity is generated without the production of greenhouse gas emissions, with an operational noise level that is virtually non-existent.
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