Solar panel Collected Energy From Sun Light-
A solar panel (photovoltaic module or photovoltaic panel) is a packaged interconnected assembly of solar cells, also known as photovoltaic cells. The solar panel can be used as a component of a larger photovoltaic system to generate and supply electricity in commercial and residential applications.
Because a single solar panel can only produce a limited amount of power, many installations contain several panels. This is known as a photovoltaic array. A photovoltaic installation typically includes an array of solar panels, an inverter, batteries and interconnection wiring.
Photovoltaic systems are used for either on- or off-grid applications, and on spacecraft.
Theory and construction-
Solar panels use light energy (photons) from the sun to generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect. The structural (load carrying) member of a module can either be the top layer (superstrate) or the back layer (substrate). The majority of modules use wafer-based crystalline silicon cells or thin-film cells based on cadmium telluride or silicon. Crystalline silicon is a commonly used semiconductor.
In order to use the cells in practical applications, they must be:
- connected electrically to one another and to the rest of the system
- protected from mechanical damage during manufacture, transport, installation and use (in particular against hail impact, wind and snow loads). This is especially important for wafer-based silicon cells which are brittle.
- protected from moisture, which corrodes metal contacts and interconnections, and for thin-film cells the transparent conductive oxide layer, thus decreasing performance and lifetime.
Most solar panels are rigid, but semi-flexible ones are available, based on thin-film cells.
Electrical connections are made in series to achieve a desired output voltage and/or in parallel to provide a desired amount of current source capability.
Separate diodes may be needed to avoid reverse currents, in case of partial or total shading, and at night. The p-n junctions of mono-crystalline silicon cells may have adequate reverse current characteristics that these are not necessary. Reverse currents are not only inefficient as they represent power losses, but they can also lead to problematic heating of shaded cells. Solar cells become less efficient at higher temperatures and so it desirable to minimize heat in the panels. Very few modules incorporate any design features to decrease temperature, but installers try to provide good ventilation behind solar panels.
Some recent solar panel designs include concentrators in which light is focused by lenses or mirrors onto an array of smaller cells. This enables the use of cells with a high cost per unit area (such as gallium arsenide) in a cost-effective way.
Depending on construction, photovoltaic panels can produce electricity from a range of frequencies of light, but usually cannot cover the entire solar range (specifically, ultraviolet, infrared and low or diffused light). Hence much of the incident sunlight energy is wasted by solar panels, and they can give far higher efficiencies if illuminated with monochromatic light. Therefore another design concept is to split the light into different wavelength ranges and direct the beams onto different cells tuned to those ranges. This has been projected to be capable of raising efficiency by 50%. The use of infrared photovoltaic cells has also been proposed to increase efficiencies, and perhaps produce power at night.
Sunlight conversion rates (solar panel efficiencies) can vary from 5-18% in commercial production, typically lower than the efficiencies of their cells in isolation. Panels with conversion rates around 18% are in development incorporating innovations such as power generation on the front and back sides.
Rigid thin-film modules-
In rigid thin film modules, the cell and the module are manufactured in the same production line.
The cell is created on a glass substrate or superstrate, and the electrical connections are created in situ, a so called "monolithic integration". The substrate or superstrate is laminated with an encapsulant to a front or back sheet, usually another sheet of glass.
The main cell technologies in this category are CdTe, or a-Si, or a-Si+uc-Si tandem, or CIGS (or variant). Amorphous silicon has a sunlight conversion rate of 6-12%.
Flexible thin-film modules-
Flexible thin film cells and modules are created on the same production line by depositing the photoactive layer and other necessary layers on a flexible substrate.
If the substrate is an insulator (e.g. polyester or polyimide film) then monolithic integration can be used.
If it is a conductor then another technique for electrical connection must be used.
The cells are assembled into modules by laminating them to a transparent colourless fluoropolymer on the front side (typically ETFE or FEP) and a polymer suitable for bonding to the final substrate on the other side. The only commercially available (in MW quantities) flexible module uses amorphous silicon triple junction (from Unisolar).
So-called inverted metamorphic (IMM) multijunction solar cells made on compound-semiconductor technology are just becoming commercialized in July 2008. The University of Michigan's solar car that won the North American Solar challenge in July 2008 used IMM thin-film flexible solar cells.
The requirements for residential and commercial are different in that the residential needs are simple and can be packaged so that as technology at the solar cell progress, the other base line equipment such as the battery, inverter and voltage sensing transfer switch still need to be compacted and unitized for residential use. Commercial use, depending on the size of the service will be limited in the photovoltaic cell arena, and more complex parabolic reflectors and solar concentrators are becoming the dominant technology.
The global flexible and thin-film photovoltaic (PV) market, despite caution in the overall PV industry, is expected to experience a CAGR of over 35% to 2019, surpassing 32GW according to a major new study by IntertechPira.
A solar cell (also called photovoltaic cell) is a solid state device that converts the energy of sunlight directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect. Assemblies of cells are used to make solar modules, also known as solar panels. The energy generated from these solar modules, referred to as solar power, is an example of solar energy.
Photovoltaics is the field of technology and research related to the practical application of photovoltaic cells in producing electricity from light, though it is often used specifically to refer to the generation of electricity from sunlight.
Cells are described as photovoltaic cells when the light source is not necesssarily sunlight. These are used for detecting light or other electromagnetic radiation near the visible range, for example infrared detectors), or measurement of light intensity.
Module embedded electronics-
Several companies have begun embedding electronics into PV modules. This enables performing Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) for each module individually, and the measurement of performance data for monitoring and fault detection at module level. Some of these solutions make use of Power Optimizers, a DC to DC converter technology developed to maximize the power harvest from solar photovoltaic systems.
A solar photovoltaic micro-inverter is a device that converts direct current (DC) from a single solar module (panel) to alternating current (AC).
Unlike a central or string inverter that aggregates and converts the power generated by the entire array of solar modules, a micro-inverter converts the DC power from a single solar module to AC. When connected to a central or string inverter the modules are all connected in series; when they have micro-inverters, the modules are all connected in parallel.
A grid-tie photovoltaic micro-inverter ensures that the power supplied will be compliant with the grid power. In geographic locations where buyback agreements are in place, this allows installations with surplus power to sell the power back to the utility. In net metering environments the meter turns forward during normal consumption, such as at night or in the day when local loads demand more than the PV system can supply, and backwards when the PV production is greater that the load consumption. The concept of panels delivering AC power has appeal for small-scale home project applications at lower voltage levels.
Module performance and lifetime-
Module performance is generally rated under Standard Test Conditions (STC) : irradiance of 1,000 W/m², solar spectrum of AM 1.5 and module temperature at 25°C.
Electrical characteristics include nominal power (PMAX, measured in W), open circuit voltage (VOC), short circuit current (ISC, measured in amperes), maximum power voltage (VMPP), maximum power current (IMPP), peak power, kWp, and module efficiency (%).
Nominal voltage refers to the voltage of the battery that the module is best suited to charge; this is a leftover term from the days when solar panels were used only to charge batteries. The actual voltage output of the panel changes as lighting, temperature and load conditions change, so there is never one specific voltage at which the panel operates. Nominal voltage allows users, at a glance, to make sure the panel is compatible with a given system.
Open circuit voltage or VOC is the maximum voltage that the panel can produce when not connected to an electrical circuit or system. VOC can be measured with a meter directly on an illuminated panel's terminals or on its disconnected cable.
The peak power rating, kWp, is the maximum output according to STC (not the maximum possible output).
Solar panels must withstand heat, cold, rain and hail for many years. Many crystalline silicon module manufacturers offer a warranty that guarantees electrical production for 10 years at 90% of rated power output and 25 years at 80%
7.5 GW of installations were completed and connected in 2009. IMS Research estimates that shipments of PV modules were far higher. Shipments exceeded installations due to the record amount of modules shipped in the final quarter of the year to serve installations completed in the first quarter of 2010 in booming European markets such as Germany, Italy, France and Czech Republic
Top ten suppliers (by power) in 2009 were:
- First Solar
- Trina Solar
- Sunpower Corporation
- Kyocera Corporation
- Canadian Solar
- SolarWorld AG
- Sanyo Electric
Average pricing information divides in three pricing categories: those buying small quantities (modules of all sizes in the kilowatt range annually), mid-range buyers (typically up to 10 MWp annually), and large quantity buyers (self explanatory—and with access to the lowest prices). Over the long term—and only in the long-term—there is clearly a systematic reduction in the price of cells and modules. For example in 1998 it was estimated that the quantity cost per watt was about $4.50, which was 33 times lower than the cost in 1970 of $150.
Following to RMI, Balance-of-System (BoS) elements, this is, non-module cost of non-microinverter solar panels (as wiring, converters, racking systems and various components) make up about half of the total costs of installations. Also, standardizing technologies could encourage greater adoption of solar panels and, in turn, economies of scale.
Today, Concentrating Solar Power supplied power costs 12¢(US)/kwh to produce. It is expected to cost 6¢(US)/kwh by 2015 due to improvements in technology and reductions in equipment manufacturing costs.
Solar Trackers increase the amount of energy produced per panel.
Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available renewable energy on earth. Only a minuscule fraction of the available solar energy is used.
Solar powered electrical generation relies on heat engines and photovoltaics. Solar energy's uses are limited only by human ingenuity. A partial list of solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, potable water via distillation and disinfection, daylighting, solar hot water, solar cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.To harvest the solar energy, the most common way is to use solar panels.
Solar technologies are broadly characterized as either passive solar or active solar depending on the way they capture, convert and distribute solar energy. Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors to harness the energy. Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to the Sun, selecting materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and designing spaces that naturally circulate air.
Fixed racks hold panels in a single location as the sun moves across the sky.
The fixed rack sets the angle at which the panel is held. Tilt angles equivalent to an installation's latitude is common.
Energy from the Sun-
The Earth receives 174 petawatts (PW) of incoming solar radiation (insolation) at the upper atmosphere.spectrum of solar light at the Earth's surface is mostly spread across the visible and near-infrared ranges with a small part in the near-ultraviolet. Approximately 30% is reflected back to space while the rest is absorbed by clouds, oceans and land masses. The
Earth's land surface, oceans and atmosphere absorb solar radiation, and this raises their temperature. Warm air containing evaporated water from the oceans rises, causing atmospheric circulation or convection. When the air reaches a high altitude, where the temperature is low, water vapor condenses into clouds, which rain onto the Earth's surface, completing the water cycle. The latent heat of water condensation amplifies convection, producing atmospheric phenomena such as wind, cyclones and anti-cyclones. Sunlight absorbed by the oceans and land masses keeps the surface at an average temperature of 14 °C. By photosynthesischemical energy, which produces food, wood and the biomass from which fossil fuels are derived. green plants convert solar energy into
|Yearly Solar fluxes & Human Energy Consumption|
|Primary energy use (2005)||487 EJ|
|Electricity (2005)||56.7 EJ|
Development of a solar powered car has been an engineering goal since the 1980s. The World Solar Challenge is a biannual solar-powered car race, where teams from universities and enterprises compete over 3,021 kilometres (1,877 mi) across central Australia from Darwin to Adelaide. In 1987, when it was founded, the winner's average speed was 67 kilometres per hour (42 mph) and by 2007 the winner's average speed had improved to 90.87 kilometres per hour (56.46 mph). The North American Solar Challenge and the planned South African Solar Challenge are comparable competitions that reflect an international interest in the engineering and development of solar powered vehicles.
Some vehicles use solar panels for auxiliary power, such as for air conditioning, to keep the interior cool, thus reducing fuel consumption.
In 1975, the first practical solar boat was constructed in England. By 1995, passenger boats incorporating PV panels began appearing and are now used extensively. In 1996, Kenichi Horie made the first solar powered crossing of the Pacific Ocean, and the sun21 catamaran made the first solar powered crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in the winter of 2006–2007. There are plans to circumnavigate the globe in 2010.
Architecture and urban planning-
Sunlight has influenced building design since the beginning of architectural history. Advanced solar architecture and urban planning methods were first employed by the Greeks and Chinese, who oriented their buildings toward the south to provide light and warmth.
The common features of passive solar architecture are orientation relative to the Sun, compact proportion (a low surface area to volume ratio), selective shading (overhangs) and thermal mass. When these features are tailored to the local climate and environment they can produce well-lit spaces that stay in a comfortable temperature range. Socrates' Megaron House is a classic example of passive solar design. The most recent approaches to solar design use computer modeling tying together solar lighting, heating and ventilation systems in an integrated solar design package. Active solar equipment such as pumps, fans and switchable windows can complement passive design and improve system performance.
Heating, cooling and ventilation-
In the United States, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems account for 30% (4.65 EJ) of the energy used in commercial buildings and nearly 50% (10.1 EJ) of the energy used in residential buildings. Solar heating, cooling and ventilation technologies can be used to offset a portion of this energy.
Thermal mass is any material that can be used to store heat—heat from the Sun in the case of solar energy. Common thermal mass materials include stone, cement and water. Historically they have been used in arid climates or warm temperate regions to keep buildings cool by absorbing solar energy during the day and radiating stored heat to the cooler atmosphere at night. However they can be used in cold temperate areas to maintain warmth as well. The size and placement of thermal mass depend on several factors such as climate, daylighting and shading conditions. When properly incorporated, thermal mass maintains space temperatures in a comfortable range and reduces the need for auxiliary heating and cooling equipment.