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Solar Photovoltaic


Photovoltaic (PV) cells are devices that convert solar radiation into electricity. Most PV cells are made of the element silicon, but other semi conducting materials can be used.

Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight into electricity. On a small scale, PV provides electricity for lighting, refrigeration, and other services to households and businesses in many countries. PV is especially appealing in remote areas where extending the utility's electricity grid is expensive or impossible. On a larger scale, utilities have used PV to provide power for centralized grid systems. PV systems are easy to operate, rarely need maintenance and do not pollute the environment. And best of all, the fuel--sunlight--is free and abundant. Photovoltaic cells use semiconductor technology to capture the energy in sunlight. Thin film cells are a relatively new technology that may decrease PV manufacturing cost significantly. Trackers and concentrators increase the amount of sunlight reaching each PV cell.

Solar Home Lighting Systems (SHS)

Homes can use photovoltaic systems to replace or supplement electric power from the utility. A stand-alone residential system consists of solar panels (A), a battery to store power for use at night (B), and a device called an "inverter" to allow conventional appliances to be powered by solar electricity (C). Some systems use appliances specially designed to be powered by solar electricity and do not require an inverter.

Solar Street Lighting Systems

There are over 6000 photovoltaic-powered remote lighting systems in the United States. Typical applications include billboards, highway signs, rural installations, parking lots, and vacation cabins. Lamps can be controlled by timers or photocells which sense how dark it is outside. There are many integral units available that combine a lamp, PV cell, battery, and controls into a single package

Solar Power Plants (Off Grid)

The market for photovoltaics is rapidly expanding. Currently, there are a few large utility PV power plants, thousands of residential systems, and tens of thousands of remote power systems in use. As prices fall, the number of installed systems will continue to increase.

Solar Lanterns

SPV Pumping Systems

Photovoltaic cells may be used to power a pump for irrigation, drinking water, or water for industrial purposes. If the supply of water needs to be maintained around the clock, a storage system must also be installed.