PV or Photovoltaics is a method of generating electricity by converting solar energy into DC current using semiconductors with photovoltaic effect. Due to the increasing demand for renewable energy, the manufacturing of PV solar panels has advanced considerably in recent years.. The production of photovoltaic elements and solar collectors is developing fast in diverse areas. PV solar panels may be of different sizes: from embedded in calculators to rooftop grids.
PV Solar Panel Cost:-
The cost of energy produced by PV Solar Panels depends on several factors and so there is no definite answer for this question. However, to give you an idea, with current technology it costs around $3.00 for 1 watt of power. According to EPIA (European Photovoltaic Industry Association) the cost of solar energy will be reduced to less than 0.10 Euro per 1 kilowatt-hour for industrial buildings and 0.15 Euro for residential areas by the year 2020.
However, one must keep in mind that the money spent in installation does get compensated by upto 30% by availing Solar Energy Grants and tax credits if the government in your country offers any. Further, over time it pays for itself because you are not purchasing electricity any more or have reduced electricity bills.
Solar Panel Efficiency and How to Improve It?
There are some energy efficiency concerns about PV solar panels. Average PV solar panels convert solar energy into electricity with the efficiency of 15 to 20 percent. Partial shading of the panel results in even further loss of power due to losses in unlit element. Just 10% shading of a solar array can lead to a 50% decline in efficiency and on occasion, total system shutdown. However, it can be avoided by installing bypass on each element of the panel.
Scientist around the world are working to make solar panels more efficient. Separate laboratories have already got solar elements with the efficiency of upto 43%. And in January of 2011, solar elements with the efficiency of 39% have already become available in the market.
PV Solar Panel Uses:
PV solar panels are used in different devices and tools today. For instance, they are used in microelectronics to supply or/and charge with electricity accumulators of various household devices like calculators, walkmans, pocket flashlights and so on. Also, you may find cars, which have solar panels on the rooftop.
PV solar panels of larger size along with solar collectors are widely used in tropical and subtropical regions with great number of sunny days. They are really popular in the Mediterranean countries, where they are placed on the rooftop of houses. For example, new houses in Spain should be provided with solar water heaters from 2007 to provide themselves with 30-70 percent of hot water needs depending on the location of a house and expected water consumption. Non-residential buildings (business centers, hospitals and so on) must have photoelectric devices. And there is a project “Smart Energy Glass” started in Netherlands, which has a goal to create photoelectric window glass.
Spacecrafts are also using PV solar panels as the main way to get electric energy. They work for a long time without consuming any materials and at the same time they are ecologically safe.
Certainly, it is one of the most promising fields in energy development industry. The whole world is interested in alternative energy sources. And PV solar panels should become really common in our life with time as scientists manage to bring down the operating cost and increase solar panel efficiency.