IS THE 21ST CENTURY THE ERA OF PHOTOVOLTAICS?

02/03/2014 - 16:07
Renewable Energy Development Institute - REDI
IS THE 21ST CENTURY THE ERA OF PHOTOVOLTAICS?

Over the last few years the knowledge of renewable energy sources has grown so much that now we are able to use successfully all the technology related. Additionally some new specialist terms have appeared which enables proper naming of various technological processes. The evolution of ecological actions also brings a streak of innovative success. In this way we come to the creation of the notion of photovoltaics.

The expression itself does not mean much to an ordinary person, which is mostly caused by the fact that ecological education still has its dark, unknown sides. To be a bit familiar with the term, photovoltaics is one of the fields of science which deals with conversion of sunlight directly into electric energy which is tantamount to generating electricity from solar radiation. Because the photovoltaic phenomenon is used here, hence the name. Here the sunlight is taken up with the use of photovoltaic cells made of crystalline silicon. Each cell is composed of two layers positive (+) and negative (-). These are the sun rays which make it possible that between the two layers arises voltage. The power of one cell is 1-6.97 W. Thus, in order to achieve more effective outcomes they are combined into modules (panels). The voltage of such a panel is 12 V and its power does not exceed 80 W. It is obvious then that the bigger surface area of the module the higher values of the voltage and power, in this way they can reach accordingly 24 V and 200 W.

Photovoltaics is more and more popular in Europe because power gained from the installations all over the continent reaches 52 GW (52000000000 W). This covers approximately 2% of the EU demand on power. What can be surprising is the fact that this quantity is enough to cover the energy demands for a country which is the size of Austria. The countries that contribute to photovoltaics popularization are The Czech Republic, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain and Great Britain.

Although this technology is quite expensive it is already quite successful and still gains recognition. The reason of that is the fact it has a lot of advantages. Besides its innovative character gains positive opinions among the photovoltaic panels users. Of course, their neutrality towards the environment do not need to be stressed any longer as it is an obvious fact. What is more, the panels do not interfere negatively into the neighborhood but make the landscape more attractive with their note of future. Additionally, the photovoltaic systems are characterized by the simplicity of installation which can be done almost on every surface – the modules can be placed on the roofs as well as directly on the ground. They are also very practical as the sun rays can be reached everywhere. This factor helps to use such panels both in industrial conditions and households.

It is not a common knowledge that photovoltaics is also used for consumer electronics. But this is the fact. Articles like calculators, garden lamps and lightning of road signs use the technology of photovoltaic cells, though their users not always are aware of the innovative solutions applied.

Photovoltaics is acknowledged as the most environmentally friendly way of electric power acquisition. It uses the renewable source of energy which is the Sun. However, it is still this category of science that shall be incessantly developed and improved as it can help to eliminate the constantly rising problem of greenhouse effect. It is also important to increase the potential of the manufacturing companies and to build photovoltaic systems like huge solar plants. The campaigns which promote ecology and renewable energy sources could be very helpful here especially when supported by political arena and positive opinion of the society.

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