CHAPTER 3

3.1

Solar Cell A solar cell is a device that takes the energy of sunlight and converts it into electricity. Solar cell also known as photovoltaic cell. The most common types of solar cells are based on the photovoltaic effect, which occurs when light falling on a two-layer semiconductor material produces a potential difference, or voltage, between the two layers. The voltage produced in the cell is capable of driving a current through an external electrical circuit that can be utilized to power electrical devices. Solar cells are made of semiconductor materials. Semiconductors are materials which become electrically conductive when supplied with light or heat, while acting as insulators at low temperatures. Over 95 % of all solar cells produced worldwide are made of semiconductor material silicon (Si). Silicon has the advantage that it is available in sufficient quantities as the second most common element in the earth's crust and the material can be processed in an environmentally-friendly manner. The efficiency of solar cells is between 10% till 12%. Solar cell must have a low reflectivity and high photon absorption coefficient. The typical solar cell should be rated at about 0.45V, 0.8A

2 Operating principle of solar cell Figure 1: Electron and Current flow in solar cell In a typical photovoltaic cell. while the other layer is treated to have an excess of electron holes or vacancies (a p-layer). the free electrons in the n-layer will cross into the p-layer in an attempt to fill the electron holes. When two dissimilar semiconductor layers are joined at a common boundary. The electrical imbalance . One layer is modified to have excess free electrons (termed an n-layer). The combining of electrons and holes at the p-n junction creates a barrier that makes it increasingly difficult for additional electrons to cross. two layers of doped silicon semiconductor are tightly bonded together (illustrated in Figure 1).3.

3. but cannot return in the other direction (against the field gradient). a current flow is produced that will continue as long as light strikes the solar cell. In the construction of a photovoltaic cell. When light of an appropriate wavelength (and energy) strikes the layered cell and is absorbed. Towards this end. other methods for crystallizing amorphous silicon to form polysilicon exist such as high temperature chemical vapor deposition (CVD). according to physicist Steven . This material can be synthesized easily by allowing liquid silicon to cool using a seed crystal of the desired crystal structure. By providing an external circuit by which the electrons can return to the other layer. electrons are freed to travel randomly.reaches an equilibrium condition. the electrons will follow another path if one is available. 3. Electrons being swept into the n-layer by the localized effects of the fixed field have a natural tendency to leave the layer in order to correct the charge imbalance.1 x 1020 joules). The electrons can easily cross the boundary. a charge imbalance results between the two semiconductor regions.3 Polycrystalline solar cell Polycrystalline silicon photovoltaics are a type of solar cell. Silicon solar cells are manufactured with a microstructure tailored to the application depending on economic and performance requirements.3 x 1020 joules to provide all of humanity's energy needs for a year (4. Additionally.4 Thin Film The sun blasts Earth with enough energy in one hour 4. and provide a path to the external circuit that connects the two layers. The final result is production of electrical power derived directly from the energy of light. Electrons close to the boundary (the p-n junction) can be swept across the junction by the fixed field. Polycrystalline silicon is composed of many smaller silicon grains of varied crystallographic orientation. metal contact layers are applied to the outer faces of the two semiconductor layers. a fixed electric field results across the boundary separating the two sides.

Prices for high-grade silicon (that can generate electricity from sunlight) shot up in 2004 in response to growing demand. such as silicon. reaching as high as $500 per kilogram (2. The question is how to most effectively harness it. . surpassing the amount converted into power by massproduced traditional silicon photovoltaic and offering the potential to unleash this renewable energy source. Enter thin-film solar cells—devices that use a fine layer of semiconducting material.Chu. Thin-film solar cells may be the answer: One recently converted 19.2 pounds) this year.9 percent of the sunlight that hit it into electricity. copper indium gallium selenide or cadmium telluride. director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. to harvest electricity from sunlight at a fraction of the cost.

. performance. Other than that they also have photoelectrochemical cell and dye sensitized solar cell.In figure 2 below shows the table of various types of solar photovoltaic cells and their modules that usually used in detail like their efficiency. environmental impact etc.

Figure 3: PV cell efficiency VS cost 3.Figure 2: Photovoltaic cells and their modules 3. this material is only used in cases where area limitation is the most important factor. for instance in space technology. wiring and land ownership. The sun delivers a constant stream of radiant energy. Note that this picture only shows the relationship between photovoltaic efficiency and cost of photovoltaic material rather than cost of the total system. Hence. this material is only used in conjunction with concentrating devices as outlined above.6 Solar energy Solar energy is an alternative source of energy power production. Low efficiency may impact on costs for mounting. Otherwise. The amount of solar energy coming towards . The most efficient. Therefore. as more area needs to be covered for the same rated power.5 Photovoltaic (PV) cell efficiency versus cost This matrix provides an indication of the relationship between cost and efficiency of photovoltaic material. but also most costly remains the multi-junction material. costs could go up further even when module costs per kWh are the same.

The main problem is to develop methods for controlling and utilizing the energy of the sun. 3. ii. Uses a flat plate solar collector.the earth through sunlight in one day is same with the energy produced by burning many millions of tons of coal. Solar energy reaching the earth in tropical zones is about 1 kW/m² per day. The mirrors must be rotated to such a position that ensures the best light reflection. There are two methods for collecting and concentrating solar energy. but keep most of the heat from escaping. Suppose the heat is focused onto the tubes where water is circulated. Uses parabolic mirrors to capture the energy of the sun. Layers of glass are laid over a blackened metal plate.7. Both these methods involve a mirror like reflective surface. Then the water can be turned into steam. The technologies below are frequently applied to solar power plant. 3.1 Solar thermal power plant . The heated air could be utilized to warm a home. with an air space between each layer. i. These layers of glass act as a heat trap. They allow the rays of the sun in.7 Solar power plant There is several type of solar power plant application used around the world. This steam can drive a turbine. Mirrors concentrate the energy from the sun by focusing the light onto an opaque receiving surface. The heated air would be stored in an insulated tank and then pumped into the house through pipes and radiators.

often upwards of 300 degrees Fahrenheit. several rows of trough-shaped. which heats up to very hot temperatures.Solar thermal power plants also work in a few different ways. creating steam and electricity. where its heat is used to boil water. much like a child might use a magnifying glass to burn ants. Figure 4: Concentrated solar power plant . In these plants. The heated fluid is piped to a power generator. commonly known as concentrated solar power (CSP) plants. That point is a black pipe running the length of the row of mirrors. The most common type uses a parabolic trough design. parabolic mirrors are strategically designed to capture and concentrate the sun's rays onto a focal point. Inside this pipe is a transfer fluid.

oil. Mirrors are usually connected to a tracking system that allows them to follow the sun across the sky. solar radiation must be concentrated to a point or a line. In order to achieve the high temperatures required.300 feet (400 meters) in length and are made up of parabolically shaped mirror segments. natural gas or by splitting uranium to produce steam. Parabolic trough collectors represent the most advanced technology for use in doing this.Figure 5: Parabolic trough A concentrated solar power plant in principal works no differently than conventional steam power plant. evacuated absorber tube receivers. Another version of a solar thermal power plant is a "power tower. such as smaller footprints and relatively fast construction time. However. there is one important difference. When concentrated solar power plant operates it does not harm to the environment by burning coal. . Mirrors are situated to focus solar radiation onto a single focal point: a tall tower which houses a receiver that boils water to create steam. The troughs track the sun over the course of the day and focus the resulting radiation along the caustic line of the mirrors onto specially coated. Power towers have some key advantages. These troughs are more than 1." Power towers take CSP technology in a new direction. It is produced solely by the energy that comes from the sun.

. The hot air enters the steam generator to produce superheated steam with a pressure of 26 bar pressure and 480°C. In times of high solar power the energy can be stored in a thermal storage system.Figure 6: operation of solar thermal power plant Referred to figure 4. The concentrated solar irradiation hits the volumetric receiver and heats it up to a temperature of 680°C. This is not necessarily the case for a large power plant. the solar irradiation is reflected by the heliostats (sun tracking mirrors) to a single spot at the top of the Solar Tower. Figure 7: Solar Thermal Power Plant Tower Jülich. Germany For the Jülich demonstration plant all system components are located inside the tower. This steam is fed to a steam turbine. The air leaves the steam generator at a temperature of 120 °C and is transported back to receiver to cool its support structure and recover the remaining energy. Ambient air is sucked through the porous absorber material by two blowers.

iii. PV power plants are relatively rare because solar thermal power is currently much more efficient at producing electricity on a large scale. Photovoltaic plants are very straightforward. Each set of panels collects solar energy. 18000 m² Storage capacity approx.7.5 MW Area of single mirror: approx. Electric power approx. . The Solar Tower Power Plant Jülich features the follow parameters: i. 8 m² Number of sun-tracking mirrors: 2150 Area mirrors power plant approx. a handful of panels will be "strung" together in series on a single mounting system. a parallel process like storage load and steam production is possible. Several solar power panels are installed to form an array.5 hours 3. Typically. 1. Thus. converts it directly into electricity. ii. and sends that electricity through wiring to the electric grid. 1 to 1. v. iv.Depending on the solar irradiation the thermal storage the plant can charged or discharged (also together with solar operation) by adjusting the power of the two blowers.2 Solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant PV plants utilize solar power panels to convert solar radiation directly into electricity.

. This is achieved by a DC switch close to the inverter. the solar generator must be separated from the inverter. which is just that. .Figure 8: Grid-connected. As the modules continue to generate electricity as long as there is sufficient light. Some manufacturers of inverters offer integrated DC switches.  DC Switch In order to be able to undertake repair or general maintenance work. the DC switch must cope with the short-circuit current as well as the open-circuit voltage. large-scale installation  Junction Box In large-scale installations. multiple modules are connected through a junction box. Just unplugging a string of modules may cause a corona with a risk of fire. but also provides surge protection.

the mpp.  Maximum Power Point Tracker (MPP) As described. . It automatically switches off the grid connection if error currents. Inverter Inverters used here will most likely produce a 3-phase AC.  AC Switch An AC switch is required by grid operators to ensure safety. Most inverters also include the maxium power point tracker (mpp).tracker. the module will only generate as much current as its weakest string. which is more common in industrial contexts. Where crystalline modules are used. each string should have its own mpp.tracker ensures that the module operates at its maximum power point at all times. changes in frequency or voltage are detected. In this instance.  Transformer An optional transformer may step up the voltage to very high voltage required by the grid. partial shading of the entire roof (for instance caused by a tree or the chimney). resulting in efficiency gains of up to 8% according to Stecca.8 MW Lieberose Photovoltaic Park in Germany. Figure 9: The 71.

The suns energy is used by using mirrors and solar panels placed throughout the property to direct light to other areas of the farm where they can then be used for electricity. it can reduce their costs which can in turn reduce the cost that consumers pay to purchase the food. Florida and California are currently leading the country with the number of solar farms and there are plans in place for more to be built soon. 14 MW power plants installed 2007 in Nevada. but many farmers will agree that it is worth the initial investment.Figure 10: Nellis Solar Power Plant. There may be a larger initial coat for the farmer to install the solar panels on their property. USA Solar Farm Solar farms are farms that utilize the sun for the energy needed to run efficiently and with less cost to the owner. Solar farms are becoming much more popular throughout the United States. . By farmers using solar farms as opposed to traditional farms. Solar farms are also better for the environment as there are utilizing natural resources.

To be safe. the right knowledge and some effort on your part. Then you’ll need to divide that number by the average number hours of sun per day you get in your location.000 and a solar system to power a large house could cost $50. These incentives could save you up to half the cost of a solar power system. where in the country you live (and how much sun you get). but it is actually fairly easy to build your own solar panels. There are many federal. If you divide that number by 30.” they could really be asking either. Now you know how much electricity you need to generate per hour of daylight to power your home. which is really two different questions. “How much will it cost for enough solar panels to power my house?” It is difficult to give an answer for a specific house because there are a lot of factors including how much electricity your houses uses. When people ask the question. use the number of hours per sun on the day of the year with the shortest amount of daylight. that is your average daily electricity usage. With a few common tools. You can check the website for your state government to see what is available in your state. state and local tax credits. you can build a solar panel for as little as $200. so we’ll cover that first. a single panel can cost about $900. Multiply the KWH by 1000 to get your monthly Watt/Hours of electricity. . etc. “How much will solar panels cost. we’ll make some assumptions and give answers for a “typical house”. in order to answer the question. which direction your house faces. The answer is a little tricky because it depends on whether you are planning to buy pre-made solar panels or make them yourself. The second possible meaning of a question about solar panel cost is. So. the first thing you need to know is how much electricity your house uses. A medium sized system to provide power to a small or very energy efficient house might cost $25.Solar Panel Cost In this article we are going to discuss solar panel cost . or $12 per watt. The best way to figure this out is to look at a monthly electricity bill to see how many kilowatt hours or KWH you use per month.” or “How much will it cost for enough solar panels to power my house?” The first question is more directly related to solar panel cost. rebates and incentives available that can reduce solar panel cost. In order to figure out the solar panel cost for your home.000+. “How much does a solar panel cost. For premade solar panels. Most people don’t know this.

Determine how many watts your household uses on average and at peak usage. but most of them are decreasing with the advances in technology. you’ll be fine.their slower speed might not appeal to everyone caught up in today's rat race. Similarly. If you don’t have an experienced photovoltaic energy technician in your area or if you are not willing to be a bit of a handyman. sulfuric acid. although this problem can be overcome with the installation of certain components. When your solar energy goes out. Look up your sun exposure in an almanac. The cost of solar energy is also high compared to non-renewable utility-supplied electricity. and cadmium telluride are all used in the manufacture of either the batteries or the panels. Lead. no solar energy will be produced during nighttime although a battery backup system and/or net metering will solve this problem. you can’t just call the power company. The production of solar energy is influenced by the presence of clouds or pollution in the air. Then you can figure out how photovoltaic power can work for you. The efficiency of the system also relies on the location of the sun. . Assess your solar situation wisely. Both the storage batteries and the panels contain materials that are very toxic. Disadvantages of solar panels are there. solar energy is becoming more price-competitive. As far as solar powered cars go . The batteries are 98% recyclable and technology promises advances in the development of more eco-friendly photovoltaic cell production. Solar power is very dependable and usually requires little work. Incorporate this information into a list of advantages and disadvantages of solar panels as they apply to your situation. maintenance is definitely an issue! But if you think you can handle minor repairs now and then. largely because of the high cost of the semi-conducting materials used in building one.Why solar is less used • • • • • • • • • The initial cost is the main disadvantage of installing a solar energy system. The maintenance can be an issue. Solar panels require quite a large area for installation to achieve a good level of efficiency. The proper disposal of the panels and the batteries when they are at the end of their useful life is important. As energy shortages are becoming more common.

a well-designed and installed solar panel system is durable and simple in concept. The next time you are negative about the cloudy.SOLAR PANEL MAINTENANCE Solar electric systems use something called photovoltaic cells to capture the energy of the sun. Essentially the only breakable part of a solar panel is the glass covering. however. break down or wear out. If you have made the wise decision to switch to Solar Panels as your primary form of energy production. solar panels are now constructed from strong unbreakable materials. a properly functioning solar panel is an obvious requirement. rainy day because you are not gathering solar energy. One aspect that makes solar panels fairly maintenance-free is that there are no moving parts to rust. Fortunately. think of it as day off for the panels to receive some maintenance. so a solar panel itself requires minimal maintenance to continue doing its job. residential solar panels do not require much maintenance. These cells are the means by which the sun’s energy is converted to electricity to either be directed straight into the household for power or stored in batteries to be used later. There is also no need of refueling it as it collects all its fuel automatically from the sun’s rays. is a form of precipitation that will affectively block the rays from reaching the panels. A dirty panel will be far less affective in collecting energy from the sun if much of the rays are being blocked by dirt and grime. Maintaining a solar panel is very straightforward. Fortunately. but there are some things you can do to increase the longevity of your solar electric system. rest assured that the only maintenance you must perform is a regular check that nothing is blocking the panels from soaking up the sun. If you are debating about making the environmentally and fiscally sensible switch. Instruction . hoses and other confusing parts you have to replace. understand that photovoltaic panels are extremely reliable and cost effective. What you do need to do is ensure that your solar panels are wiped and clean. here's all that's necessary. Snow removal in the winter is important because there are still plenty of sunny days even during this time of year. Snow. Maintaining Your Solar Panel Whether a solar panel system is designed to generate heat for our homes or produce electricity. In fact. for most climates there is a good bit of rain every year which acts to clean your solar panels. while earlier versions of solar panels were relatively fragile. This certainly cannot be said of a generator which has belts. the only part of a solar heating system that has any moving parts requiring maintenance is the pump. Luckily. Plus. you are waiting in vain because it has already happened. If you are waiting for the scientific breakthrough that makes them more feasible.

2) Panels installed in dusty areas may require more frequent inspection.1) Inspect the solar panels on a periodic basis (frequency depends on location or the manufacturer's specifications) to remove any debris and dirt and ensure all connections are tight. 5) Cleaning a solar panel is not cosmetic. Check and log the power output on your solar inverters display on a daily or monthly basis. A panel needs to be clean for it to operate at its rated capacity. . Solar panels produce different amounts of power during the year. 3) Clean the surface of a solar panel with warm water and dishwashing soap to remove any accumulation of dirt and grime. 4) Remove any bird droppings as well since they can severely reduce the panel's energy- producing capacity. With this data. so keeping a baseline measurement helps. you can then check to see if your solar panels are functioning at full efficiency. Checking Solar Panel Operation The only other part of solar panel maintenance is monitoring their energy output and ensuring there are no malfunctions.

components in a grid connected solar farm have no moving parts and the solar panels have an output guarantee of 25 years. . By installing solar farm equipment.Solar farm maintenance A farming opportunity with low maintenance and overheads A solar farm has none of the labor intensive nature and ongoing overheads of traditional farming. Additionally. You'll also be able to provide your own farm with clean. no herbicides or pesticides. making you money while leaving you frees to do other things. No water is needed.all you'll need is under an acre of land or 500 square meters of North facing roof area. no vet bills. renewable power. There's next to no maintenance involved . A solar farm is a great return on investment. particularly considering the low maintenance involved and the reassurance of guaranteed income.the sun does all the hard work for you. Solar farming can easily integrate with your farm's current activities . early morning starts or late night paddock checks. you'll also considerably boost the value of your property.

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