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In this case an inverter is required to convert the DC to AC. There is still a smaller market for stand alone systems for remote dwellings, boats , recreational vehicles , electric cars, roadside emergency telephones, remote sensing , and cathodic protection of pipelines. Photovoltaic power generation employs solar modules composed of a number of solar cells containing a semiconductor material.

Because of the growing demand for renewable energy sources, the manufacturing of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has advanced considerably in recent years. Cells require protection from the environment and are usually packaged tightly in solar modules. Photovoltaic module power is measured under standard test conditions STC in "W p " watts peak.

For best performance, terrestrial PV systems aim to maximize the time they face the sun.

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Solar trackers achieve this by moving PV modules to follow the sun. Static mounted systems can be optimized by analysis of the sun path. PV modules are often set to latitude tilt, an angle equal to the latitude, but performance can be improved by adjusting the angle for summer or winter.

Modeling Clouds’ Effects on Solar Energy Production and Systems Performance

Generally, as with other semiconductor devices, temperatures above room temperature reduce the performance of photovoltaic modules. A number of solar modules may also be mounted vertically above each other in a tower, if the zenith distance of the Sun is greater than zero, and the tower can be turned horizontally as a whole and each module additionally around a horizontal axis. In such a tower the modules can follow the Sun exactly. Such a device may be described as a ladder mounted on a turnable disk.

Each step of that ladder is the middle axis of a rectangular solar panel. In case the zenith distance of the Sun reaches zero, the "ladder" may be rotated to the north or the south to avoid a solar module producing a shadow on a lower one. Instead of an exactly vertical tower one can choose a tower with an axis directed to the polar star , meaning that it is parallel to the rotation axis of the Earth. In this case the angle between the axis and the Sun is always larger than 66 degrees.

During a day it is only necessary to turn the panels around this axis to follow the Sun.

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Installations may be ground-mounted and sometimes integrated with farming and grazing [22] or built into the roof or walls of a building building-integrated photovoltaics. Another recent development involves the makeup of solar cells. Perovskite is a very inexpensive material which is being used to replace the expensive crystalline silicon which is still part of a standard PV cell build to this day. The electrical efficiency of a PV cell is a physical property which represents how much electrical power a cell can produce for a given Solar irradiance.

The basic expression for maximum efficiency of a photovoltaic cell is given by the ratio of output power to the incident solar power radiation flux times area. The efficiency is measured under ideal laboratory conditions and represents the maximum achievable efficiency of the PV cell or module. Actual efficiency is influenced by temperature, irradiance and spectrum.

The most efficient type of solar cell to date is a multi-junction concentrator solar cell with an efficiency of The highest efficiencies achieved without concentration include a material by Sharp Corporation at The US company SunPower produces cells that have an efficiency of There is an ongoing effort to increase the conversion efficiency of PV cells and modules, primarily for competitive advantage. In order to increase the efficiency of solar cells, it is important to choose a semiconductor material with an appropriate band gap that matches the solar spectrum.

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This will enhance the electrical and optical properties. Improving the method of charge collection is also useful for increasing the efficiency. There are several groups of materials that are being developed. Recent improvements have increased the efficiency and lowered cost, while remaining environmentally-benign and renewable.

Several companies have begun embedding power optimizers into PV modules called smart modules. These modules perform maximum power point tracking MPPT for each module individually, measure performance data for monitoring, and provide additional safety features. Such modules can also compensate for shading effects, wherein a shadow falling across a section of a module causes the electrical output of one or more strings of cells in the module to decrease. One of the major causes for the decreased performance of cells is overheating.

The efficiency of a solar cell declines by about 0. This means that a degree increase in surface temperature could decrease the efficiency of a solar cell by about half. Self-cooling solar cells are one solution to this problem. Rather than using energy to cool the surface, pyramid and cone shapes can be formed from silica , and attached to the surface of a solar panel. Doing so allows visible light to reach the solar cells , but reflects infrared rays which carry heat.

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  • Solar photovoltaics is growing rapidly and worldwide installed capacity reached about gigawatts GW by the end of More than countries use solar PV. In a study in Science estimated that by global PV installed capacities will be between 3, and 10, GW. Michael Liebreich , from Bloomberg New Energy Finance , anticipates a tipping point for solar energy. The costs of power from wind and solar are already below those of conventional electricity generation in some parts of the world, as they have fallen sharply and will continue to do so.

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    He also asserts, that the electrical grid has been greatly expanded worldwide, and is ready to receive and distribute electricity from renewable sources. In addition, worldwide electricity prices came under strong pressure from renewable energy sources, that are, in part, enthusiastically embraced by consumers. Deutsche Bank sees a "second gold rush" for the photovoltaic industry to come.

    Grid parity has already been reached in at least 19 markets by January Photovoltaics will prevail beyond feed-in tariffs , becoming more competitive as deployment increases and prices continue to fall. In June Barclays downgraded bonds of U. Barclays expects more competition by a growing self-consumption due to a combination of decentralized PV-systems and residential electricity storage.

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    This could fundamentally change the utility's business model and transform the system over the next ten years, as prices for these systems are predicted to fall. While solar photovoltaic PV cells are promising for clean energy production, their deployment is hindered by production costs, material availability, and toxicity. The values of human labor and water consumption, for example, are not precisely assessed due to the lack of systematic and accurate analyses in the scientific literature.

    Many studies have been done on the various types of PV including first generation , second generation, and third generation. Usually these PV LCA studies select a cradle to gate system boundary because often at the time the studies are conducted, it is a new technology not commercially available yet and their required balance of system components and disposal methods are unknown. A traditional LCA can look at many different impact categories ranging from global warming potential , ecotoxicity , human toxicity, water depletion, and many others.

    The EPBT is defined as " the time needed to compensate for the total renewable- and non-renewable- primary energy required during the life cycle of a PV system". One difficulty in determining impacts due to PV is to determine if the wastes are released to the air, water, or soil during the manufacturing phase.

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    Crystalline silicon modules are the most extensively studied PV type in terms of LCA since they are the most commonly used. Mono-crystalline silicon photovoltaic systems mono-si have an average efficiency of EPBT ranges from 1. Techniques to produce multi-crystalline silicon multi-si photovoltaic cells are simpler and cheaper than mono-si, however tend to make less efficient cells, an average of Cadmium telluride CdTe is one of the fastest-growing thin film based solar cells which are collectively known as second generation devices.

    This new thin film device also shares similar performance restrictions Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit as conventional Si devices but promises to lower the cost of each device by both reducing material and energy consumption during manufacturing. Today the global market share of CdTe is 5. CdTe PV systems require less energy input in their production than other commercial PV systems per unit electricity production.

    Materials necessary for assembly are readily available, and are less costly per watt of solar cell.