A solar PV system makes use of solar panels to transform sunlight directly into electricity. Such a system consists of a solar panel(s), a power converter, and the necessary interconnections as well as mounting for some other components. A small Solar PV system can supply electrical energy to a consumer, isolated equipment such as a lamp or even a weather instrument. Extensive grid-connected solar PV systems are able to provide the necessary energy for many customers.
An individual solar PV cell, can supply only a low voltage to the tune of 0.5V. Hence, several solar PV cells are wired in series into what is called a laminate which then is assembled within a weatherproof enclosure for protection from the elements, into a solar PV module or solar panel. These modules are in turn, linked together as a photovoltaic array. The power thus generated can be used directly, stored, or fed into a huge electricity grid or combined with the many domestic power generators to be channeled into a hybrid plant.
Solar PV Arrays
A single solar PV module cannot generate sufficient power to meet the needs of a business or a home, so several modules are connected together into an array. Most solar PV arrays make use of an inverter to change the DC power generated by the solar panels into an alternating current that is able to power motors, lights, and other kinds of loads. In order to constantly maintain the desired voltage, solar PV modules in a photovoltaic array are connected initially in series; after this, the individual strings are linked in parallel to permit a solar PV system to generate more electricity.
Nowadays solar PV power generation utilizes solar panels composed of several solar cells that contain a photovoltaic material. Materials used to manufacture solar PV include mono as well as polycrystalline silicon, cadmium telluride, amorphous silicon, as also copper indium gallium selenide/sulfide. Owing to the rapidly increasing demand for renewable energy sources, the production of solar cells as well as solar PV arrays has progressed a lot in recent years.
Disadvantages of Solar PV
Solar PV cells needs to be safeguarded from their immediate environment and as such is packaged tightly under a sheet of glass. The power output of solar PV is particularly sensitive to shading. Even if a minute portion of a cell, module, array, etc. is shaded, and the rest of them receives sunlight, there is a dramatic fall in the power output because of what is known as internal "short-circuiting" as the electrons keep reversing their course along the shaded parts of the p-n junction. Actually, rather than enhancing the electricity generated by a solar PV panel, the shaded cell tends to absorbs power, converting the same into heat.
The manufacture of solar PV panels involves utilizing toxic compounds and if not handled properly it can endanger the worker's health and also their environment. Hence processes ought to be designed and executed so that potential exposures of workers to hazardous materials are prevented. To cite an example, workers should be prevented from having direct physical contact with solar PV panels prior to their encapsulation into modules and to that end airtight assembly lines should be constructed.