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How Does Solar Power Work? - Photovoltaics Explained

HOW DOES SOLAR POWER WORK? Photovoltaics explained DC-AC STAGE 4: Creating usable solar power STAGE 1: Sunlight STAGE 2: Solar cells STAGE 3: Photovoltaic module We all know the Sun's light contains energy. We've been burned by it at the beach. It's made our eyes tear up when we stared at it for too long. Certain For most of us, this next stage is (AKA Solar Panel) Photovoltaic panels produce direct-current (DC) electricity, but most of us need AC (alternating current) to power our everyday most easily explained as "magic." A solar cell is a thin semi-conductor wafer specially A module is a collection of cells that are electrically connected to treated to form an electric field. one another. These cells are then mounted into a support materials such as crystal and silicon can actually absorb this It's positive on one side and gadgets and lights. An inverter is therefore required to convert DC to AC. Don't worry. It's not a negative on the other and structure or frame. These energy -a property known as "the photoelectric effect" that electrical conductors are modules are designed to supply attached to either side to form a electricity at a certain voltage, catch. Once set up, a solar system can cleanly and renewably power something as small as a light bulb or as large as an entire house or car. causes them to absorb photons circuit. This circuit then captures the released electrons in the such as a common 12 volt of light and relegse electrons. system. The solar power form of an electric current. produced is directly dependent on how much light strikes the modules. Solar cell, module, array, system, what's the difference? The difference is mostly scale, each is a part of something larger, like Russian dolls of the clean energy world. 1 Solar cell 1 solar system (1 or more arrays connected together) 1 Solar module aka panel 1 Solar array (group of panels in series) (72 solar cells) ("NOTE: NUMBERS VARY DEPENDING ON DESIRED SIZE OF SOLAR ARRAY) Anatomy of a solar cell Layer 1: Metal conductor strips Layer 2: Anti-reflective coating Layer 3: 1st silicon/thin film layer Layer 4: 2nd silicon/thin film layer Layer 5: Metal backing The Rise of Solar Power in the U.S. The U.S. photovoltaic market has grown at an average annual rate of 69% since 2000, rising from 3.9 megawatts (MW) to 1555 MW in 2010. Number of solar panels deployed in the US (BASED ON AN AVERAGE OF 5000 SOLAR PANELS PER 1MW OF POWER PRODUCTION.) 215,000 290,000 115,000 55,000 20,000 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2,175,000 1,450,000 825,000 525,000 395,000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 First half of 2010 1,695,000 year end estimate 3,390,000 Through the first half of 2010 28% of the decades total solar panel growth came in 2009 alone. 2010 Number of U.S. Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Installations, 2000 to 2010 100,000 80,000 60,000 40,000 20,000 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 World's largest* solar power plants, as of Sep 2010 Sarnia Photovoltaic Moura Photovoltaic 1. Canada Power Plant 6. Portugal Power Station Normal Maximum Output Power: 80 MW Normal Maximum Output Power: 46 MW Olmedilla Kothen 2. Spain Photovoltaic Park 7. Germany sSolar Park Normal Maximum Output Power: 60 MW Normal Maximum Output Power: 45 MW Strasskirchen Finsterwalde 3. Germany Solar Park 8. Germany Solar Park Normal Maximum Output Power: 54 MW Normal Maximum Output Power: 41 MW Waldpolenz Germany sSolar Park Lieberose 4. Germany Photovoltaic Park 9. Normal Maximum Output Power: 53 MW Normal Maximum Output Power: 40 MW Puertollano 5. Spain Photovoltaic Park *(40 MEGAWATTS OR LARGER) Normal Maximum Output Power: 50 MW As solar power becomes more accessible to the world, countries seek to provide power plants which produce in excess of 100 megawatts. Topaz Solar Farm, is a proposed $1 billion solar photovoltaic power plant, to be built by First Solar Inc. Its location is Carrizo Plain, a large enclosed plain app. 50 miles long and up to 15 miles across in San Luis Obispo County, California, about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Once constructed it will be able to output a whopping a 550 megawatts of power and would put the USA, and the Sunshine State, on the map as having one of the largest solar parks in the world. Normal Maximum Output Power: 550 MW SOURCES: SCIENCE.NASA.GOV • OPENPV.NREL.GOV SCIENTIFICAMERICAN.COM • EIA.DOE.GOV• SEIA.ORG PVRESOURCES.COM

How Does Solar Power Work? - Photovoltaics Explained

shared by kcatoto on Jan 24
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We all know that the sun's light contains energy. Here shows how does solar power work starting from stage 1 up to Creating usable solar power. Check out the process!


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