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Photovoltaics
Published:2013-11-26 20:24:12    Text Size:【BIG】【MEDIUM】【SMALL

Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiationinto direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cellscontaining a photovoltaic material. Materials presently used for photovoltaics includemonocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, andcopper indium gallium selenide/sulfide. Due to the increased demand for renewable energysources, the manufacturing of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has advanced considerably in recent years.

Solar photovoltaics is a sustainable energy source. By the end of 2011, a total of 71.1 GW had been installed, sufficient to generate 85 TWh/year. And by end of 2012, the 100 GW installed capacity milestone was achieved. Solar photovoltaics is now, after hydro and wind power, the third most important renewable energy source in terms of globally installed capacity. More than 100 countries use solar PV. Installations may be ground-mounted (and sometimes integrated with farming and grazing) or built into the roof or walls of a building (either building-integrated photovoltaics or simply rooftop).

Driven by advances in technology and increases in manufacturing scale and sophistication, the cost of photovoltaics has declined steadily since the first solar cells were manufactured,and the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from PV is competitive with conventional electricity sources in an expanding list of geographic regions. Net metering and financial incentives, such as preferential feed-in tariffs for solar-generated electricity, have supported solar PV installations in many countries.With current technology, photovoltaics recoup the energy needed to manufacture them in 3 to 4 years. Anticipated technology would reduce time needed to recoup the energy to 1 to 2 years.

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