1) Introduction to Solar PV

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How does a Solar PV system Work?

Solar cells change sunlight directly to electricity. In the process of converting sunlight into electricity there are no emissions or harmful waste. When light hits a solar cell the photons (particles of sunlight) are converted into electrons of direct current (DC) electricity. The electrons flow out of each cell, then move from each module into an inverter. The inverter converts the DC power into alternating current (AC) power and then this power is supplied to your electrical panel. If more power is being supplied then used the excess power flows back into the grid and supplies your neighbours with power.

PV systems operate silently and have no moving parts. Systems have been in use for more than fifty years and have been connected to the grid for over twenty years. PV systems generally recoup the energy required in their manufacturing and installation within a few years and after 30-years they have a net production of about 95 percent clean energy.


Types of Modules

Solar cells are often made from silicon, the same material used to make computer chips. Silicon is used in many different ways to produce photovoltaic cells, one of the most efficient technologies is used when making monocrystalline solar cells. These solar cells are made from slices of silicon taken form a single silicon crystal. Solar panels using this technology appear to have many rounded or square with rounded corners in the panel.

Polycrystalline solar cells are also produced from silicon but the process creates square solar cells and instead of a single crystal there are many crystals. These cells are less expensive to produce, but unfortunately they are not as efficient.

Thin-film solar cells are the least expensive and the least efficient. They use chemical compounds to semiconduct, instead of crystalline silicon. These cells are produced quickly using continuous manufacturing processes.


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