Why is it worth using photovoltaics. The word photovoltaic (PV) was first used around 1890 and comes from the Greek. “Phos” for light and “volt” for electricity. It describes exactly how photovoltaic materials and devices work. Photovoltaics is a method of converting light directly into electricity. A well-known example of photovoltaics is solar-powered calculators that use a small photovoltaic cell to power the calculator.
Solar panels and solar water heating systems
Although solar panels are sometimes confused with solar water heating systems, they work in a different way. They are used to generate electricity, not heat. In addition, they are often referred to as solar panels.
Moreover, PV does not need to use direct sunlight to function. Even a small amount of light is enough for the system to function properly. Therefore, investing in photovoltaics provides electricity to buildings not only on long and sunny days, but also on cloudy days, e.g. in the winter months. It is true, however, that the efficiency of the panels is directly proportional to the amount of light received. Hence, the stronger the sun, the better.
What are the advantages of photovoltaics?
As is well known, the energy from the sun is pure and infinite. Photovoltaics makes good use of the sun’s energy and converts it into electricity. As a result, households are greener and less dependent on the network.
Contrary to popular belief that solar panels are expensive, we can actually save a lot from the long run. There are various subsidies that will pay for the clean energy we produce. This makes solar energy a wise investment.
Installing solar panels will ensure not only environmental protection, but also considerable financial benefits.
How does photovoltaics work?
Photovoltaics refers to the conversion of light directly into electricity. Uses materials with a photoelectric effect to generate energy. These are so-called semiconductors. The most popular semiconductor is silicon, which absorbs photons from light and, as a result, frees electrons from atoms.
Light (natural or artificial) that reaches a photovoltaic cell creates an electric field across the layers of the material. These free electrons can then be captured, resulting in an electric current. It can be used to produce electricity. The more light is absorbed, the more electricity will be produced by photovoltaics. Solar panels using photovoltaic cells produce direct current (DC). It is converted into alternating current (alternating current) so that the electricity is used for domestic use. If the electricity produced is not consumed, it can be converted back to DC and exported back to the grid.
What is a PV cell and a PV module?
Photovoltaic cells are made of semiconductor materials, usually silicon. When light enters a solar cell that has an electric field with both positive and negative sides, electrons are released from the atoms. Thanks to photovoltaic cells, electricity is generated.
If several cells are electrically connected to each other within a support structure, we can speak of a photovoltaic module. It is designed to generate electricity at a certain voltage. The combination of multiple photovoltaic modules (or panels) is called a photovoltaic system. We can simply install it on the roof of the building to supply electricity.
One of the easy criteria that can be applied to classify PV modules is whether they are grid connected. With this in mind, we can divide them into:
- Off-grid systems: not connected to the grid. They are usually used to cover the electricity needs of independent buildings or holiday homes that are not connected to the public grid. They are very convenient, because we do not need special permits from companies that distribute electricity. They are 100% self-contained and therefore do not require an additional generator or battery to run the solar power when the sun is not shining. The cost of solar energy storage systems is falling, making them increasingly available and affordable for most households.
- Connected systems: we can use electricity from the energy company when we need it. If we don’t, we can use the electricity generated by our panels for private use and also sell all, or excess, back to the grid.
First of all, photovoltaics is distinguished by the fact that it can be used for a long time. The exact number depends on various variables such as panel quality and climatic conditions, but can generally last more than 40 years. What’s more, solar systems do not require much maintenance and are covered by a long-term warranty.