The PV solar energy system uses photovoltaic cells, which are miniature semiconductor devices. Originally, these cells contain silcon, but advances in technology have led to the development of new light-sensitive materials. These cells are thin and flexible, and have pioneered the use of rooftop solar tiles and building facades. Their efficiency has been widely documented, enabling the widespread adoption of PV solar systems. Here are a few key facts about PV solar energy:
The PV solar industry started expanding at an exponential rate. By 2009, China's SunTech had increased its capacity by 500 megawatts. By that time, the industry had increased production to more than a gigawatt, which is approximately 2% of world electricity demand. There are now over one hundred countries that utilize PV, with China and Japan leading the way. In terms of production, the industry has grown rapidly, and continues to expand, but the growth has been uneven.
There are several drawbacks to PV solar energy. PV installations have a life span of 25 to 40 years. This includes installation, maintenance and repair costs. These costs must be discounted in order to get a net present value. In the case of PV solar power, the LCOE is comparable to the price of electricity provided by a utility. In order to calculate the LCOE, one should consider the price at which the utility generates its electricity during peak solar production.
A PV solar system can be ground-mounted or built into a building. In the latter case, the panels are mechanically fixed to the roof. Some ground-mounted racking systems have tracking systems. These systems use sensors to follow the Sun and increase energy generation. However, they require more maintenance than their ground-mounted counterparts. Once installed, these systems can be used to power a variety of appliances, including dishwashers, washing machines and pool pumps.