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Photovoltaic


Published on Dec 17, 2015

Abstract

Photovoltaic is the direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level. Some materials exhibit a property known as the photoelectric effect that causes them to absorb photons of light and release electrons. When these free electrons are captured, an electric current results that can be used as electricity.

Photovoltaic (PV) or solar cells as they are often referred to are semiconductor devices that convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. Groups of PV cells are electrically configured into modules and arrays, which can be used to charge batteries, operate motors, and to power any number of electrical loads. With the appropriate power conversion equipment, PV systems can produce alternating current (AC) compatible with any conventional appliances, and operate in parallel with and interconnected to the utility grid.

Introduction

A solar cell is any device that directly converts the energy in light into electrical energy through the process of photovoltaics. The development of solar cell technology begins with the 1839 research of French physicist Antoine-César Becquerel. Becquerel observed the photovoltaic effect while experimenting with, a solid electrode in an electrolyte solution when he saw a voltage developed when light fell upon the electrode.

A solar panel or battery converts the sun's energy to electricity. Gerald Pearson, Calvin Fuller and Daryl Chapin invented the first sun energy battery in 1954. The inventors created an array of several strips of silicon (each about the size of a razorblade), placed them in sunlight, captured the free electrons and turned them into electrical current.

Photovoltaic is the direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level. Some materials exhibit a property known as the photoelectric effect that causes them to absorb photons of light and release electrons. When these free electrons are captured, an electric current results that can be used as electricity.

A French physicist first noted the photoelectric effect. Edmund Becquerel, in 1839, who found that certain materials would produce small amounts of electric current when exposed to light. In 1905, Albert Einstein described the nature of light and 11w photoelectric effect on which photovoltaic technology is based, for which he later won a Nobel prize in physics. Bell Laboratories built the first Photovoltaic module in l954.

It was billed as a solar battery and was mostly just a curiosity as it was too expensive to gain widespread use. In the 1960s the space industry began to make the first serious use of the technology to provide power aboard spacecraft. Through the space programs, the technology advanced, its reliability was established, and the cost began to decline. During the energy crisis in the 1970s, photovoltaic technology gained recognition as a source of power for non-space applications.

Current PV Technology

Photovoltaics (PV) or solar cells as they are often referred to are semiconductor devices that convert sunlight into direct current (DC) electricity. Groups of PV cells are electrically configured into modules and arrays, which can be used to charge batteries, operate motors, and to power any number of electrical loads. With the appropriate power conversion equipment, PV systems can produce alternating current (AC) compatible with any conventional appliances, and operate in parallel with and interconnected to the utility grid.

In the 1980s, photovoltaics became a popular power source for consumer electronic devices, including calculators, watches, radios, lanterns and other small battery charging applications. Following the energy crises of the 1970s, significant efforts also began to develop PV power systems for residential and commercial uses both for stand-alone, remote power as well as for utility-connected applications. During the same period, international applications for PV systems to power rural health clinics, refrigeration, water pumping, telecommunications, and off-grid households increased dramatically, and remain a major portion of the present world market for PV products.

Today, the industry's production of PV modules is growing at approximately 25 percent annually, and major programs in the U.S., Japan and Europe are rapidly accelerating the implementation of PV systems on buildings and interconnection to utility networks.














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