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A Deep Look Into Photovoltaics

Jessica PirroJuly 11, 20195170

A Deeper Look Into Photovoltaic Cells

Devices that have photovoltaic cells generate solar electricity directly from sunlight through an electronic process that naturally occurs in certain types of material called semiconductors. Electrons in these materials are freed by solar energy and can be induced to travel through an electrical circuit, powering electrical devices or sending the solar electricity to the grid.

Solar devices that have photovoltaic cells can be used to provide solar power to anything from small electronics like calculators as well as road signs up to homes and large commercial businesses.

How does the Photovoltaic Cells Technology Work? 

The way that photovoltaic cells work is the photons strike and ionize semiconductor material on the solar panels, which will cause outer electrons to break free from their atomic bonds. Because of the semiconductor structure, the electrons are then forces in one direction creating a flow of electrical current. The photovoltaic cells are not 100% efficient in crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, in part because only certain light within the spectrum can be absorbed. There’s some light spectrum that is reflected, some are too weak to create solar electricity (infrared) and some (ultraviolet) creates heat sole energy instead of solar electricity.  

Other Types of Photovoltaic Technology 

In addition to crystalline silicon (c-Si), there are two other main types of photovoltaic cells technology:

Thin-film solar panels with photovoltaic cells is a rapidly growing but small part of the commercial solar panels market. There are many thin-films firms that are start-ups in developing experimental technologies. The efficiency of solar panels with these solar panels is lower, but in most cases, these solar panels are cheaper, than crystalline silicon solar panels.

In the United States, solar panels that have concentrated photovoltaic cells are found primarily in the desert Southwest. They use lenses and mirrors to reflect concentrated solar energy onto high-efficiency photovoltaic cells. They require direct sunlight and tracking solar-powered systems in order to increase the efficiency of a solar panel.

Building-integrated photovoltaic cells serve as both the outer layer of a structure and generate solar electricity for on-site use or export to the grid. Building-integrated photovoltaic cells that are on solar-powered systems are able to provide savings in materials as well as electricity costs, they can also reduce pollution and add the architectural appeal of a building.

The History of Photovoltaic Cells Technology

The effect of photovoltaic cells was observed as early as 1839 by Alexandre Edmund Becquerel and was the subject of scientific inquiry through the early twentieth century. In 1954, Bell Labs in the United States was the first to introduce the solar device with photovoltaic cells that produced a usable amount of solar electricity, by 1958, photovoltaic cells were being used in a variety of smaller-scale scientific and commercial applications.

The energy crisis of the 1970s saw the beginning of major interest using solar panels with photovoltaic cells to produce solar electricity in homes as well as businesses, but prohibitive prices (nearly 30 times higher than the current price) made large-scale applications impractical.

Industry developments and research in the following years made devices with photovoltaic cells more feasible and a cycle of increasing production and decreasing costs began which continues even today.

The Costs of Solar Panels with Photovoltaic Cells

Their cost of solar panels with photovoltaic cells is rapidly falling making solar-powered systems more affordable than ever! You can see how much you can save on solar panels by using the hahasmart price checker tool! The average price of solar-powered systems with photovoltaic cells has dropped by 59 percent over the last decade, making solar panels installations more affordable now than ever!

Modern Photovoltaic Cells 

The cost of solar panels with photovoltaic cells has dramatically fallen as the industry has scaled up manufacturing and incrementally improved the technology with new materials. The installation of solar panels cost has come down too with more experienced and trained solar panel installers. Globally, the United States has the third-largest market for the installation of solar panels with photovoltaic cells, and the solar energy industry in the U.S. is continuing to rapidly grow.

Most of the more modern solar panels with photovoltaic cells, the photovoltaic cells are either made from crystalline silicon or thin-film semiconductor material. The photovoltaic cells that are made up of silicon usually have the highest efficiency of a solar panel when it comes to converting sunlight to solar electricity, but they generally have a higher manufacturing cost of solar panels. The thin-film materials, the efficiency of a solar panel will typically be lower when compared to the efficiency of a solar panel that is made up of silicon photovoltaic cells, but they can be simpler and have a lower cost of solar panels manufacturing. A specialized category of photovoltaic cells, which are called multi-junction or tandem cells, they are used in applications which require very low weight and the efficiency of a solar panel made up of these photovoltaic cells are very high, such as in satellites and military applications. All sorts of solar-powered systems that have solar panels that are made up of photovoltaic cells are used widely today in a variety of applications.

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