Photovoltaic cells produce electricity directly from sunlightPhotovoltaics are best known as a method for generatingelectric power by usingsolar cellsto convert energy from thesunintoelectricity. The photovoltaic effectrefers to photons of light knocking electrons into a higher state of energy to create electricity. Theterm photovoltaic denotes the unbiased operating mode of a photodiodein which currentthrough the device is entirely due to the transduced light energy. Virtually all photovoltaicdevices are some type of photodiode.Solar cells producedirect currentelectricity from light, which can be used to power equipment or torecharge a battery. The first practical application of photovoltaics was to power orbiting satellites and other spacecraft, but today the majority of photovoltaicmodulesare used for grid connected power generation. In this case aninverter is requiredto convert the DC to AC. There is a smaller market for off grid power for remotedwellings, roadside emergency telephones,remote sensing, andcathodic protectionof pipelines.Average solar irradiance, watts per square metre. Note that this is for a horizontal surface,whereas solar panels are normally propped up at an angle and receive more energy per unit area. The small black dots show the area of solar panels needed to generate all of theworld's energy using 8% efficient photovoltaics.Cells require protection from the environment and are usually packaged tightly behind aglass sheet. When more power is required than a single cell can deliver, cells areelectrically connected together to form photovoltaic modules, or solar panels. A singlemodule is enough to power an emergency telephone, but for a house or a power plant themodules must be arranged in multiples asarrays. Although the selling price of modules isstill too high to compete with grid electricity in most places, significant financialincentives in Japan and then Germany, Italy and France triggered a huge growth indemand, followed quickly by production. In 2008, Spain installed 45% of all photovoltaics, but a change in law limiting theFeed-in Tariff is expected to cause a precipitous drop in installations there, from 2500 MW in 2008 to 375 MW in 2009.
TheEPIA/GreenpeaceAdvanced Scenario shows that by the year 2030, PV systemscould be generating approximately 1,864 GW of electricity around the world. This meansthat, assuming a serious commitment is made toenergy efficiency, enough solar power