What are PV panels?

What are PV panels?

PV panels are panels of photo voltaic cells that use the energy and radiation of the sun to generate electricity. This electricity can then be used for both commercial, as well as residential purposes. PV panels are composed of solar cells, and it is these cells that actually convert the radiant energy of the sun into current electricity. Usually Photo cells are made of photo voltaic material. This material is made of copper, silicone or alloys of copper and other metals.

A single solar or PV panel, which consists of several photo cells, is only capable of producing a specific amount of power using solar energy. It is for this reason that for large scale electricity production, several PV panels are used instead of individual ones. The constituents of a simple photo voltaic system are an inverter, several solar panels, quite often a battery and wiring for interconnecting purposes.

How do PV panels work?

These panels work on the principle of the photo voltaic effect; this means that they generate electricity using the photons present in the radiations of the sun. Each system consists of a load carrying member, also known as the structural component which can either be placed on the top or the back. Majority of the photo voltaic panels function with the help of wafer like crystalline cells or even thin filmed cells which are commonly based on cadmium telluride. Silicon can also be used. The wires that conduct the current or the electricity produced from the panels to where it is required can contain copper, silver and certain other conducting transition metals.

In order to efficiently generate electricity, all cells in the system are supposed to be connected to one another electrically. Because these cells will use direct radiation of the sun and convert it into electricity, they must also be protected from moisture and overall damage. Majority of the solar panels available today are rigid and fixed, but the semi flexible variety is also available. This variety functions on thin film cells.

How do PV panels generate current electricity?

In order to generate current electricity many factors have to be taken into consideration, these are:

Series or parallel connections:

In order to achieve the required output of voltage or electricity, the connections are made in series, whereas in order to provide required current capability, the connections are made in parallel.

Separate diodes to avoid reverse current:

In order to avoid reverse current within the system, sometimes separate diodes are needed for the purpose of electricity production during night time or shading. The reverse current must be avoided at all costs because it causes power wastage and may also cause overheating of the cells. It is fact that solar cells lose their efficiency at raised temperatures. For this purpose, installers tend to plan an adequate ventilation system behind the photo voltaic panels.

Sunlight Concentrators:

Development and advancements in these solar panels have lead to the inclusion of concentrators in the photo voltaic systems. These concentrators cause the light to get focused with the presence of mirrors or lenses placed on a variety of small cells. This ensures cost effectiveness of the solar panels.

New developments and design concepts:

Recently there have been many new developments and concepts that have changed the construction and optimum functioning of the photo voltaic power generation system. It is a fact that no matter what kind of construction has been used to create photo voltaic panels, they cannot cover the whole solar range but they do generate electricity using different frequencies of light, which exclude ultraviolet, infrared etc. This means that during the production of electricity with the help of photo voltaic panels, plenty of solar energy is wasted and not utilized in the process. For this purpose, a design concept has been introduced whereby the light is split into various wavelength ranges and is then directed onto various cells which have been tuned according to these wavelengths. This concept increases the efficiency of the photo voltaic system by 50%. Another idea is to introduce infrared PV cells; these have the ability to generate electricity even during the night.

Advantages of PV panels:

These panels require a onetime installation cost only, after this, PV panels are pretty much maintenance free and provide free electricity as well. PV panels also generate electricity silently and don’t disturb the environment either. They can be constructed to be weather proof as well and can survive in all sorts of climates. Most PV panels come with a lifetime guarantee and don’t require any specialized knowledge or skill to run them. PV panels can be installed on roofs, on windows, on swimming pools to heat water, on car batteries, and even in industries. Street lights and fans can easily be powered with the help of PV panels and even in the developing world where electricity is not available in villages; PV power plants are becoming more and more popular. PV panels can even power television sets and they can be constructed small enough to power a calculator, and large enough to be installed in an industrial scale as well.