Solar power | Conversion of sunlight energy into electricity.

Instead of a solar panel system, a PV (photovoltaic) system is also referred to. Photovoltaic panels, inverter and electricity cables together form the complete PV system. Stop global warming and fossil fuel by using a private power plant!

The panel itself consists of a blue anti-reflection layer and cells. The blue anti-reflection layer ensures that the panel can absorb maximum daylight. The cells are located under this reflection layer. These cells usually consist of silicon. As soon as silicon absorbs sunlight, the atomic particles that make up the material begin to move. This creates an electrical voltage between the two layers.

PV panels contain cells that convert (sun) light into electricity. These cells are also called photovoltaic PV cells. This is derived from the Greek word Photos which means "light" and the term Volt, which indicates electrical voltage.

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Solar power | Conversion of sunlight energy into electricity.

As soon as the voltage is generated, the inverter must start working. This converts the generated DC voltage into an AC voltage of 230 Volts. Only then can the electricity be used for the electricity grid. The closer the inverter is placed to the solar power panels, the better this is for efficiency. After the transformation, the solar electricity can be used immediately.

The electricity cables, called PV DC wires, ensure that the electricity generated directly reaches the devices in use. These special cables are suitable for transporting DC energy. Do you use less solar energy than is created? Then the excess electricity is automatically sent back to the public electricity grid.

The process of converting sunlight into electricity is called: photovoltaic conversion, often indicated with the abbreviation "PV", from the English "photovoltaic". The most commonly used material for this is silicon. It is a semiconductor metal that is present on the earth in large quantities: after all, the raw material is sand. The silicon used in a cell is exceptionally pure, and two different prepared silicon layers are laid on top of each other. When they are in contact with each other and exposed to light, electricity flows between these two non-identical semiconductors (photovoltaic effect).

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Solar power | Conversion of sunlight energy into electricity.

The process of thin-film panels is similar. The PV cell consists of the first layer with a minimal amount of phosphorus and the second layer with a small amount of boron. At the top of the cell there are thin contact paths and at the bottom is a thin layer of metal (usually silver or nickel). The light releases electrons in the cell and creates a voltage difference between the "minus" (bottom) and the "plus" (top of the cell). If these are connected, this produces an electric current. The photovoltaic process does not necessarily require direct sunlight.

A PV panel is a concatenation of such cells, each of which functions as a small battery. By connecting these cells (series connection), usable amounts of generate electricity are obtained. With thin-film panels, there are no pre-fabricated cells, but a conductive film is applied to a glass plate. Several thin layers are laid on top. Each layer is each time, by laser, cut into specific patterns, so that the cells and their contact paths are created in this way. Finally, this "thin film" is protected against rain and wind by a second glass plate. With thin-film panels, considerably less light-sensitive material is required (only a few µm), and the production process is a lot easier.

Solar power generation system

Solar technology conversion installation consists of different panels connected, which in turn consist of cells connected (for comparison with batteries) that direct supply current. With the help of an inverter, this direct current is converted into usable alternating current, which is then sent into the grid or not.

The current cells are made from silicon. There are three types of cells with which three types of modules can be made: the mono-crystalline modules, the polycrystalline modules and thin film modules: Mono and polycrystalline modules are very similar.

  1. Mono-crystalline cells are silicon wafers, sawn from a large candle-shaped dark blue "single crystal".
  2. Polycrystalline cells are cast. These cells generally provide a slightly lower efficiency than the single-crystalline cells.
  3. Amorphous silicon is not sawn from silicon but is deposited on a glass plate. Very little silicon is used for this. These panels have a better effect with diffuse light (cloudy weather), but the yield / m² is lower than with crystalline panels. These panels are best suited for larger surfaces and installation (BIPV Building Integrated Photovoltaics). There are even semi-transparent panels for this.

The earth receives an enormous amount of sun clean energy. In one hour we get as much sun energy as the annual world energy consumption. However, sunlight consists of different wavelengths. Unfortunately, we can currently only convert part of it into electricity (6 to 18%) because the current solar cells only use 1 or 2 wavelengths.

The amount of energy that a PV panel produces depends on three factors: the size, the efficiency of the panel and the amount of solar radiation that can be converterd into electricity power.

The capacity of a photovoltaic cells is expressed in watt peak (Wp).

This is the yield with irradiation of 1000W / m², and at 25 ° C. Most PV panels have a peak capacity between 40 and 200 Wp. In practice, the yield depends on the amount of light that enters the panel. The return in Spain is a lot higher than in Belgium because the number of hours of sunshine is a lot higher.