Photovoltaic solar energy is the source that produces electricity from solar radiation by means of a semiconductor device incorporated in the solar panels . It is important to keep up to date with the news, technical aspects and topicality of photovoltaic solar energy, as it is a sector in constant growth.
Photovoltaic solar energy information:
Photovoltaic solar energy is a source of energy that produces electricity of renewable origin, obtained directly from solar radiation by means of a semiconductor device called a photovoltaic cell, or by deposition of metals on a substrate called thin film solar cell.
Photovoltaic solar energy is used both to produce electricity in homes or warehouses that already have electricity supply , as well as to supply country houses or houses isolated from the electrical network of the most varied characteristics. Due to the growing demand for renewable energy, the manufacture of solar cells and photovoltaic installations has advanced considerably in recent years.
There are economic incentive programs, first, and subsequently photovoltaic self – consumption systems and net balance without subsidies, they have supported the installation of photovoltaics in a large number of countries. Thanks to this, photovoltaic solar energy has become the third most important renewable energy source in terms of installed capacity globally , after hydroelectric and wind power. At the beginning of 2017, it is estimated that around 300 GW of photovoltaic power is installed worldwide.
Photovoltaic solar energy does not pollute, since it is a sustainable source that generates energy without producing agents that deteriorate the environment, contributing to avoid the emission of greenhouse gases. The main disadvantage of photovoltaic solar energy is that production is affected by adverse weather conditions , hence the days with little sun, clouds or that dirt has been deposited on the panels, the production of the photovoltaic system is drastically reduced . This implies that to guarantee the electricity supply it is necessary to complement this energy with other energy sources based on fossil fuels, such as hydroelectric energy or nuclear energy.
Thanks to technological advances, sophistication and economy of scale, the cost of photovoltaic solar energy has been reduced steadily since the first commercial solar cells were manufactured, increasing efficiency, and achieving its average cost Power generation is already competitive with conventional energy sources in a growing number of geographic regions, reaching grid parity.
Applications of photovoltaic solar energy:
Large-scale industrial production of photovoltaic panels took off in the 1980s, and among its many uses are:
– Telecommunications and signaling : Photovoltaic solar energy is ideal for telecommunications applications, among which are for example local telephone exchanges, radio and television antennas, microwave repeater stations and other types of electronic communication links. This is because, in most telecommunications applications, storage batteries are used and the electrical installation is normally performed in direct current (DC). On rugged and mountainous terrain, radio and television signals may be interfered with or reflected due to undulating terrain. In these locations, low power transmitters (LPT) are installed to receive and retransmit the signal among the local population.
– Isolated devices : The reduction in energy consumption of integrated circuits made it possible in the late 1970s to use solar cells as a source of electricity in calculators.
Other fixed devices that use photovoltaic energy have also seen their use increase in recent decades, in places where the cost of connection to the electricity grid or the use of disposable batteries is prohibitively expensive. These applications include, for example, solar lamps, water pumps, emergency parking meters, trash compactors, temporary or permanent traffic signs, charging stations or remote surveillance systems.
– Rural electrification : In isolated environments, where little electrical power is required and access to the network is difficult, photovoltaic panels have been used as an economically viable alternative for decades. To understand the importance of this possibility, it should be borne in mind that approximately one quarter of the world’s population still does not have access to electricity.
In developing countries, many villages are located in remote areas, several kilometers from the nearest power grid. As a result, photovoltaic energy is increasingly being incorporated to provide electricity to homes or medical facilities in rural areas. For example, in remote locations in India a rural lighting program has provided lighting using solar-powered LED lamps to replace kerosene lamps. The price of solar lamps was approximately the same as the cost of kerosene supply for a few months. Cuba and other Latin American countries are working to provide photovoltaic energy in areas far away from conventional electricity supply.
– Pumping systems: The photovoltaic pumping systems can be used to provide water in irrigation systems, drinking water in isolated communities or troughs for livestock.
Photovoltaics are also used to feed pumping facilities for irrigation systems, drinking water in rural areas and watering holes for livestock or for water desalination systems.
Photovoltaic pumping systems (as well as those powered by wind energy) are very useful where it is not possible to access the general electricity network or it is a prohibitive price. Their cost is generally cheaper due to their lower operating and maintenance costs, and they have a lower environmental impact than pumping systems powered by internal combustion engines, which also have lower reliability.
The pumps used can be either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). Normally DC motors are used for small and medium applications of up to 3 kW of power, while for larger applications AC motors are used coupled to an inverter that transforms DC current from photovoltaic panels for use. This allows systems to be sized from 0.15 kW to more than 55 kW of power, which can be used to supply complex irrigation or water storage systems.
– Transport and maritime navigation : Although photovoltaics is not yet widely used to provide traction in transport, it is being used increasingly to provide auxiliary energy in ships and cars. Some vehicles are equipped with air conditioning powered by photovoltaic panels to limit the indoor temperature on hot days, while other hybrid prototypes use them to recharge their batteries without connecting to the mains. The practical possibility of designing and manufacturing vehicles powered by solar energy, as well as ships and airplanes, has been amply demonstrated, with road transport being considered the most viable for photovoltaics.
Solar energy is also commonly used in lighthouses, buoys and maritime navigation beacons, recreational vehicles, charging systems for ship’s electric accumulators, and cathodic protection systems. The recharge of electric vehicles is becoming increasingly important.
– Photovoltaic solar installations in a neighborhood community : Following the recent changes in the regulations of the photovoltaic sector, many photovoltaic installations are often located in buildings: they are usually placed on an existing roof, or are integrated into elements of the The building’s own structure, such as skylights, skylights or facades.
Building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is increasingly being incorporated as a main or secondary source of electrical energy in new domestic and industrial buildings and even in other architectural elements, such as bridges. Tiles with integrated photovoltaic cells are also quite common in this type of integration.