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Photovoltaics: Everything You Need in One Guide

Views: 5000     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2022-10-13      Origin: Site

Photovoltaics: Everything You Need in One Guide

What Is Photovoltaics?

Photovoltaics is the direct conversion of light into electric power using semiconducting materials such as silicon. The photovoltaic effect is an important phenomenon studied in physics and chemistry.


The word photovoltaics (PV) was first mentioned around 1890, and it comes from the Greek words: photo, ‘phos,’ meaning light, and ‘volt,’ which refers to electricity.


Photovoltaic, therefore, means light-electricity, describing exactly the photovoltaic phenomenon where you can directly convert light into electricity.

Solar panels are using this phenomenon to supply green power for homes and industries, and fortunately, the cost of solar panels is on the decline, making the technology more available.


There is a hope that photovoltaic systems can make us independent of fossil fuels, addressing the current environmental problems.


If you want to invest in photovoltaics for your property, all you need to do is fill in the contact form and we will match you with relevant installers. This service is completely free of charge and non-binding.

How Does Photovoltaics Work?

Photovoltaic technology uses semiconductors to produce power based on the photoelectric effect.

If photons of light (either natural or artificial) with enough energy penetrate a photovoltaic cell, they can excite electrons to a higher energy state.


In fact, the electrons of a semiconductor that are not normally free, will become free and act just like they’re in a conducting material.

These free electrons can then be captured, resulting in an electric current that can be used to produce electricity. The more light gets absorbed, the more electricity will be produced by photovoltaics.


So by using the photovoltaic phenomenon, we can easily convert solar energy into electricity and use it as an alternative to traditional means of energy generation.

In the animation below, you can see how the process of photovoltaics can help power your household’s electricity needs.


Are Solar Panels and Photovoltaics the Same?

Solar panels and photovoltaic systems are synonymous. If several solar cells are electrically connected with each other within a supporting structure, a photovoltaic module is made.


You can connect solar cells in two different ways: series and parallel.

This way, PV modules can be made at different voltages for different applications.


The combination of multiple photovoltaic modules (or panels) is called a photovoltaic system. Solar panels produce direct current (DC) but with a solar inverter, you can convert it to alternate current (AC), which is used for home appliances.


What's the Difference between Solar Radiation and Thermal Energy?


One of the most important matters you need to know about solar energy is that it can benefit us in two different ways. It can:

Generate electricity using the photovoltaic phenomenon

Generate thermal energy using collectors and liquids (usually water)

In the first approach, solar PV panels on your roof absorb sunlight and convert it into usable electricity for your household.

In the second approach, sunlight energy will heat up a substance, which is usually water, that is housed in solar thermal panels. This is a solar water heating system that can meet your household’s water needs.

It is also good to know that researchers have recently done lots of studies to develop integrated thermo-photovoltaic cells to use the sunlight in both ways: heat and electricity.


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