PV Solar Panels – A Feasibility Analysis of Photovoltaic Solar Power

PV Solar Panel

PV or Photovoltaics is a method of generating electricity by converting solar energy into DC current using semiconductors with photovoltaic effect. PV solar panels may be of different sizes: from embedded in calculators to rooftop grids.

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 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.

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Pros & Cons of PV Solar Panels

The main advantage of such power systems is that they produce more energy during their lifetime than the money that was spent for their production. For instance, silicon photovoltaic panels in sunny countries like Spain return energy expended for their production within first 2 to 5 years of operation. And they serve not less than 20 years. Moreover, the use of solar energy does not always require installation on ground. PV solar panels can be installed on the rooftops or facades of existing buildings, barriers of highways and so on.

Production of electricity with solar photovoltaic panels doesn’t need any kind of fuel. It also doesn’t produce noise pollution like wind energy plants. Further, there is no need to provide the system with labour-intensive technical maintenance to keep up its operable condition. But this energy source still can not compete with traditional energy sources in price effectiveness.

 Even though the cost of silicon and other materials required in making PV panels have come down in recent years but it is still unreasonable to use PV solar energy without governmental support in the areas where normal access to electricity is available at reasonable price. 

 

Is it Economical for Everyone?

The application of solar energy is economically reasonable in countries, which provide support to this sector. The main countries that provide solar grants and incentive programs for solar energy are the USA, Germany, Spain, Italy, Great Britain, Australia, Japan and some others. These are all developed countries. These are the countries which are making the hottest market of solar energy.

However, today’s reality of rising global energy problems, inflation, depleting reserves of crude oil and gas makes it necessary to start changing from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources.

Solar Energy Grants in the US

Many countries give incentives to the development and use of alternative energy source. Solar energy grants are ones of the most popular among them.

In the United States any person(owner) or firm using equipment that uses solar energy to generate electricity, to heat or cool (or provide hot water for use in) a structure, or to provide solar process heat (an exception is property used to generate energy to heat a swimming pool) can claim a 30 percent tax credit or an equivalent cash payment depending on eligibility and choice.

While the Investment Tax Credit for solar and other renewable energy technologies doesn’t expire until 2016, the Solar Grant Program, expires on December 31, 2010. However, there are rumors that it may be extended.

As the government understands that it is important, it gives incentives to such people. Contemporary tendencies of the US government directed to the development of this sector. Many millions of dollars are already spend for this purpose and more will be spent in future.

It’s not a secret that you can heat your home with the help of solar energy saving traditional ones and making a major contribution to the development of alternative one this way. Anyone is able to get solar energy grants by improving energy efficiency and installing solar PVs (photovoltaics) at home.

There are a lot of companies that may offer you to install solar PVs. You may do it also by yourself finding the appropriate information on the web or other sources. It is also topical for people, who want to save their money using solar energy, because it is free.

If you are looking for any opportunity to save some money for other purposes solar energy grants are for you. You will not only have more material opportunity, but will also have nature-friendly home.

If you are decided to make your home “green” and help your budget, you should apply for solar energy grants or claim the investment tax credits. To claim tax credits, you just need to file the 2011 IRS Form 5695 and submit it with your Annual taxes.

On the 1040 form the residential energy tax credit (from Form 5695) is claimed on line 52. Save your receipts and the Manufacturer’s Certification Statement for your records.

For specific information on current financial year, check the website
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index

Solar Energy Grants in Australia

Australia as any other developed country in the world has various programs and schemes of using renewable energy sources and encourages companies and individuals with various incentives, rebates and grants for developing solar, wind, wave and other renewable energy projects. It is offered to save a great deal of money with the help of these programs in Australia. This is one of the developed countries, which tries to make about 20 percent of their energy to be eco-friendly within the next few years.

Australian government offers the renewable energy bonus scheme. Water heating has 23 percent of all greenhouse emissions in average Australian house. Australian households can apply for a rebate of 1000 dollars for a solar hot water system. This rebate system is in force from 20 February 2010. Note: an applicant has only 62 days to claim after the system is installed.

What you need to apply:

– You must be an Australian citizen of 18 years or more.
– You didn’t use the Home Insulation or Homeowner Insulation Programs.
– You application should be made within 2 month (62 days) after the eligible system is installed.
– You must be an owner of the dwelling where the system is installed.
– You must be a purchaser of the installed system.
– Perform a correct submission of an application form and agree with the terms and conditions.

You may also call this number for more information: 1800 808 571 and use e-mail: solarhotwater@climatechange.gov.au

Adelaide, Alice Springs, Blacktown, Central Victoria, Moreland, Perth and Townville are so-called Solar Cities. Each of these cities has its own combination of options for energy efficiency. The government has various initiatives to promote solar energy use there. If you are a citizen of one of these cities, you should contact your local government for more information.

There are some conditions for you to apply for Australian solar energy grants. For example, it is possible for you to apply for the rebates, even if your home has not been built yet. You should only prove that you will live there not less than six months, present some documents and fill in special form.

If you live in an apartment complex, you may apply for solar energy grants as well. You need only to meet a few conditions, such as: to be an owner of apartment, to have special permission form body corporate and prove that solar panels are your own. These conditions are not unachievable, so go ahead.

Certainly, there are a lot of companies that can provide you with solar grids for your house or apartment. The only thing you need to do is find them in your region and consult about the size and number of such grids required for your home. Such companies specialize in manufacturing and installing grids. They will make everything for you and help you with maintenance of their products. They can also provide you with required information about solar energy grants in your region.

Conclusion

Focusing on oil, gas or nuclear power can make some countries seriously dependent on the world’s largest suppliers of these materials (Crude Oil, Fissile Uranium etc) and threaten the economical safety of many countries that don’t have oil reserves and fissile uranium, plutonium etc.

Obviously, alternative energy sources cannot settle all the problems in the nearest future. But focusing on them, particularly on hydopower, wind and solar energy, will give real opportunity to increase energy safety in future.

Riya Menon