There are important considerations you need to know regarding photovoltaic applications. For better comprehension, this article will define some terms which are quite technical and may sound unfamiliar to an ordinary reader. So, buckle up and enjoy reading.
In its simplest definition, the term photovoltaic pertains to the direct transformation of sunrays into electricity. This is actually a physical process which is referred to as the photovoltaic effect which is a built-in mechanism of a solar cell – a single unit and the most essential component – of the energy-catching panels.
A solar or PV panel is made up of many cells which are connected to each other to create a single energy-catching frame. The size of these frames depends on your needs such as the area of your home or of the entire perimeter that needs to be powered up. One panel may not be sufficient for large homes or vast perimeters, so a photovoltaic array is recommended.
A photovoltaic (PV) array is different from a PV panel. As the term suggests, the PV array pertains to all PV panels connected together as one. Do you see the difference? With this particular set up, you are assured of an increased voltage and sufficient power supply.
Since solar cells produce electricity by means of photovoltaic mechanism, you may be wondering as to the type of electricity these PV panels can produce. These PV frames give off direct current (DC) which is similar to that of a battery. Likewise, DC is not the same to the alternating current (AC) which the electric grid produces.
It may noteworthy to mention that DC power is converted into AC power with the use of an inverter . An inverter is an electrical instrument – which can be incorporated into certain kinds of photovoltaic modules – to convert direct current to alternating current.
Applications of Photovoltaic Power
When it comes to photovoltaic applications, it is imperative to understand how this alternative power works. Foremost consideration for this system to be highly functional is your relative location to – whether you are located at about 30 degrees below or above – the equator.
If your location is near the equator, then you do not have to worry about your daily energy consumption. You are blessed with abundant energy. Earth gets infinite amount of solar energy in just one (1) hour as compared to what the entire globe consumes for twelve (12) months. You can do your own estimate or calculation here and discover how powerful the Sun's power is!
For those located farther away from the equator – the cooler regions – there is no reason to be disappointed. As long as there is sunlight you get energy from the Sun. However, you MUST have good battery storage for exigencies like winter, long days of heavy rain, and cold nights for your heating system.
Based on scientific data, photovoltaic products have various applications, with power ranging from 0.0001 Watts up to 2,000,000 Watts for the following such as:
- Portable solar gadgets
Some of these solar-powered gadgets like calculators, lamps, flashlights, watches and a lot more do not need the power grid due to their non-electrical features.
- Areas with no existing electrical infrastructure
These are remote or secluded places where network installation does not exist. Examples are mountain regions and under-explored islands.
- Integration of photovoltaic power and the electricity grid
This is a fast-growing trend these days. You have probably heard of households and offices using alternating power supply. It means that power from solar panels is used at daytime, and these particular consumers shift to using network power during the night.
- Utility and Technical Provisions
- A large scale of PV arrays may be installed by a certain utility company in order to achieve and maintain significant power supply to comply with the clamor and needs of the consumers and for their own technical purposes. The electrical power network is a concrete example for this particular application.
- Space-based Solar Power ( SBSP ) Project
SBSP has been a research project of NASA since the early part of 1970. The idea was launched for the purpose of gathering solar power in space for Earth use.
Photovoltaic applications have extended to space exploration, although careful and more thorough research should be considered. According to scientific finds, PV panels in space are exposed to high energy particles causing them to erode rapidly. Unlike on Earth, the degradation rate of these solar energy catchers is only about 0.25% a year. For more savings, switch to PV power and release yourself from being dependent on the grid!