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Developed by Belle Telephone researchers in 1954, Photovoltaic cells were first used to power U.S. space satellites. Later they were used to generate electricity in areas where electric lines were not present. By 2004, in the United States, most of the PV systems were connected to an electric power grid with utility power facilities and were installed in hundreds of homes and buildings. Their lower costs, advanced facilities, and financial incentives provided by the government have made PV systems extremely popular and made their utility-scale Power plant rise from 6 million kWh to 112 billion kWh in a decade.
What is Photovoltaic (PV) electricity?
Photovoltaic electricity is the electricity that is generated by converting sunlight into electricity usually by using a device called photovoltaic cells. The device works on Einstein’s photoelectric effects which won the Nobel prize in 1921.
How does PV technology work?
The core component of the PV system is PV cells. A single cell will range from 0.5 inches sizes to4 inches and can only generate 1 or 2 watts of electricity that are enough only for powering electricity for small uses.
PV cells will be grouped and packed together in a PV module or panel that is capable of surviving the harsh weather conditions of the world. The size and capacity of generating electricity will vary from one PV module to the other. And to generate more electricity, more PV cells can be added to the module. These PV modules can further be grouped to form an array. The array size can vary from 2 to 500 modules. The amount of electricity that can be generated will be based on the size of the array (the number of modules connected).
Photovoltaic cells generate direct current (DC) that can be used to charge batteries that work on DC. These batteries, in turn, can power devices that use DC. To power devices that work on AC, a device called an inverter can be used to change DC into Ac electricity.
PV cells and modules generate maximum electricity when they are facing the sun. So, to constantly face the sun, they can use tracking systems. Modules will be placed in such positions and angles that will optimize their performance.
As the scream for cheaper and renewable electricity is getting louder, photovoltaic electricity will become more popular in the future.