Photovoltaics Wilmington DE
West Chester, PA
Rehoboth Beach, DE
Photovoltaic energy is the most promising and popular form of solar energy. In solar photovoltaics, sunlight is actually converted into electricity. This is very different from a conventional understanding of solar power as only a way of heating water. Photovoltaic, now the biggest usage of solar energy around the world, is briefly explained below:
Sunlight is made of photons, small particles of energy. These photons are absorbed by and pass through the material of a solar cell or solar photovoltaic panel. The photons 'agitate' the electrons found in the material of the photovoltaic cell. As they begin to move (or are dislodged), these are 'routed' into a current. This, technically, is electricity - the movement of electrons along a path.
Wire conducts these electrons, either to batteries or to the regular electrical system of the house, to be used by appliances and other household electrical items. In many solar energy systems, the battery stores energy for later use. This is especially true when the sun is shining strongly.
Photovoltaics is used in a wide variety of situations:
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Photovoltaics Fully Explained
"Solar photovoltaic systems" refers to a wide variety of solar electricity systems. Solar photovoltaic systems use solar panels made of silicon to convert sunlight into electricity.
The following paper provides a remarkably detailed explanation of solar photovoltaics, taken from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's web site. Economics discussed in the paper's conclusion are dated, but the bulk of the paper is a detailed (very scientific and mathematical) discussion of the exact working of solar photovoltaics.
Photovoltaics: Unlimited Electrical Energy From the Sun
Bulk electrical power generation using the available solar energy of a kilowatt per square meter will occur when photovoltaic cells decline in price below 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Jack L. Stone
The first practical solar cell was developed at Bell Laboratories  in 1954. With the advent of the space program, photovoltaic cells made from semiconductor-grade silicon quickly became the power source of choice for use on satellites. The system were very reliable, and cost was of little concern.
In the early 1970s, the disruption of oil supplies to the industrialized world led to serious consideration of photovoltaics as a terrestrial power source. This application focused research attention on improving performance, lowering costs and increasing reliability. These three issues remain important today even though researchers have made extraordinary progress over the years. This article details that progress.
What is Photovoltaics?
Photovoltaics is a high-technology approach to converting sunlight directly into electrical energy. The electricity is direct current and can be used that way, converted to alternating current or stored for later use.
Conceptually, in its simplest form a photovoltaic device is a solar-powered battery whose only consumable is the light that fuels it. There are no moving parts; operation is environmentally benign; and if the device is correctly encapsulated against the environment, there is nothing to wear out.  Because sunlight is universally available, photovoltaic devices have many additional benefits that make them usable and acceptable to all inhabitants of our planet. Photovoltaic systems are modular, and so their electrical power output can be engineered for virtually any application, from low-powered consumer uses-wristwatches, calculators and small battery chargers-to energy-significant requirements such as generating power at electric utility central stations (see figure 1). Moreover, incremental power additions are easily accommodated in photovoltaic systems, unlike more conventional approaches such as fossil or nuclear fuel, which require multimegawatt plants to be economically feasible.
To understand the many facets of photovoltaic power, one must understand the fundamentals of how the devices work. Although photovoltaic cells come in a variety o...