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Solar Cells

What is a Solar Cell

Solar cell, also called a
photovoltaic cell, is a device
that converts light energy
into electrical energy.
A single solar cell creates a
energy (about 0.5-0.6 volts
DC) so they are usually
grouped together in an
integrated electrical panel
Sunlight is a somewhat
diffuse form of energy and
only a portion of the light
captured by a solar cell is
converted into electricity.

What are Solar Cells

Thin wafers of silicon
Similar to computer chips
Much bigger
Much cheaper

Silicon is in abundance
Made from sand
Non-toxic, safe

Cells convert sunlight energy into electric

current, however they do not store
Sunlight is its source of fuel


Basic photovoltaic device that is the
building block for PV modules
A group of PV cells connected in series
and encapsulated in an environmentally
protective laminate
A group of modules that is the basic
building block of a PV array
A group of panels that comprises the
complete PV generating unit


A Brief History
Photovoltaic Technology


Photovoltaic effect discovered by Becquerel.

Hertz developed solid selenium PV (2 %).
Photoelectric effect explained by A. Einstein.
Light meters for photography commonly
cells of copper oxide or selenium.
Bell Laboratories developed the first
silicon cell (4 %).

Things Start
To Get Interesting...
1976 First amorphous silicon cell developed by
Wronski and Carlson.
1980s - Steady progress towards higher efficiency
and many new types introduced
1990s - Large scale production of solar cells more
than 10% efficient with the following materials:
Ga-As and other III-Vs
CuInSe2 and CdTe
TiO2 Dye-sensitized
Crystalline, Polycrystalline, and Amorphous

Today prices continue to drop and new 3rd

generation solar cells are researched.

Photovoltaic Materials

Conductors, Insulators and


Conduction Band: white

Band gap

No gap
Valence Band
in red




Band Theory







There are 3 types of

materials in Band
Theory, which are
differentiated by
their electronic
conductors, and

Electronic Structure of
Group 4 elemental
Silicon crystal forms
the diamond lattice
Resulting in the use
of four valence
electrons of each
silicon atom.

How do they work?

How solar cell works

A solar cell is based upon the "photovoltaic effect"
discovered in 1839 by Edmund Becquerel, a French
Physicist. In his experiments he found that certain materials
would produce small amounts of electric current when
exposed to sunlight. Sunlight is made up of packets of
energy called photons.
When the photons strike the semi-conductor layer (usually
silicon) of a solar cell a portion of the photons are absorbed
by the material rather than bouncing off on it or going
through the material.
When a photon is absorbed the energy of that photon is
transferred to an electron in an atom of the cell causing the
electron to escape from its normal position.
This creates, in essence, a hole in the atom. This hole will
attract another electron from a nearby atom now creating
yet another hole, which in turn is again filled by an electron
from another atom. This hole filling process is repeated and
repeated, the result of which, an electric current is formed.

Energy Bands in a
on Band
Band Ev
full of

2/(3) Types of
1. Intrinsic
2. Extrinsic
b) p-type

Types 2 (a) and 3 (b) are semiconductors

that conduct electricity - How?

by alloying semiconductor with an impurity,

also known as doping
carriers placed in conduction band or
carriers removed from valence band.
Note: Color Protocol

Type 1: Intrinsic
(intrinsic): contains equal no.
of valancies or holes in the
valence band and so in an
intrinsic semiconductor no. of
free electrons is always equal
to the number of holes.
Therefore, conduction band is
valence cannot move,
semiconductor acts

the pure
like an

Type 2 (a) : n-Type

n-type: current is carried
by negatively charged
electrons - How?
Group 5 (Pentavalent e.g.,
As, Sb or P) ) impurity atoms
added to silicon melt from
which is crystal is grown
4/5 of outer electrons used to
fill valence band
1/5 left is then put into
conduction band. These
impurity atoms are called

conduction band
the electrons
are moving,
crystal becomes
a conductor

Type 3 (b) : p-Type

p-Type: current carried
by missing electron holes
which act as positively
charged particles. How?
Group 3 (Trivalent e.g., B,
Ga In & Al) added to
silicon melt
need 4 outer electrons but
doping creates lack of
electrons in valence band.
missing electrons, are
called as holes, are used
to carry current.

What Carries the

Prevailing charges are called the
majority carriers
prevailing charge carrier in n-type:
prevailing charge carrier in p-type: holes

Creating a Junction

Generation of Electrical

All the junctions contain strong electric field
How does the electric field occur?

When two semiconductors come into contact,

electrons near interface from n-type, transfer
over to p-type, leaving a positively charged area
Holes from p-type by interface transfer over to ntype leaving a negatively charged area.
Because electrons and holes are swapped, a
middle potential barrier with no mobile charges,
is formed.
This potential barrier created does not let any
more electrons or holes flow through.

Electric field pulls electrons and holes in

opposite directions.

Physics of Photovoltaic Generation

+ + + + + + + + + + + + + +
-+ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Depletion Zone

Theory of Solar Cell

Working Principle
The solar cell works on the principle of photovoltaic
effect, which is the process of generating an EMF as a
result of the absorption of ionizing radiation
When photons strike a transparent photovoltaic cell, it
may be reflected pass through or absorbed by material
Absorbed photons provide the thermal energy to excite
the electrons to generate electricity
When enough solar energy is absorbed by the material
of cell electron break through from the atoms
The energy associated with photon is proportional to the
frequency of radiations (As Plancks law)

E = hv = h c /
where h = Plancks constant; c = speed of light
= wavelength of light
v = frequency

Equivalent circuit of a
solar cell

the current produced by the solar cell is

I = output current (ampere)
IL = photo generated current (ampere)
ID = diode current (ampere)
ISH = shunt current (ampere).

The schematic symbol of a

solar cell

A PV device can be modeled by a current source in parallel with a

diode, with resistance in series and parallel.

I-V Curve for Solar


Fourth quadrant (i.e., power quadrant) of the illuminated I-V

characteristic defining fill factor (FF) and identifying Jsc and Voc

A current

Voltage increases rapidly up to about 200 W/m2, and then

is almost constant

Current and maximum power increase proportionally with irradiance.

Current in a Solar

Output current = I = Il-Io [ exp(qV/kT)-1]

Il=light generated current

I0= Diode current
q = electric charge
V = voltage across the junction
k = Boltzmanns constant = 1.3807 10-23 J/K

When in open circuit (I=0) all light generated

current passes through diode
When in short circuit (V=0) all current passes
through external load
Important points:
1) During open circuit the voltage of open circuit,
Voc = (kT/q) ln( Il/Io +1)
2) No power is generated under short and open
circuit - but Pmax = VmIm=FFVocIsc

Solar Cell Materials

Solar cell is made up of different materials and Si is the element which is using in nearly
92%-95% solar cells.
Various materials display varying efficiencies and have varying costs.
Materials for efficient solar cells must have characteristics matched to the spectrum of
available light.
Some cells are designed to efficiently convert wavelengths of solar light that reach the
Earth surface. Light absorbing materials can often be used in multiple physical
configurations to take advantage of different light absorption and charge separation
Materials presently used for photovoltaic solar cells include mono crystalline silicon,
polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride and copper indium.
Most of the solar cells are made from bulk materials that are cut into wafers between 180
to 240 micrometers thick that are then processed like other semiconductors.
Other materials are made as thin-films layers, organic dyes, and organic polymers that
are deposited on supporting substrates.
A third group are made from nanocrystals and used as quantum dots (electron-confined

PV Classification
Silicon Crystalline Technology

Thin Film Technology

Mono Crystalline PV Cells

Multi Crystalline PV Cells

Cadmium telluride (CdTe)

Copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS)
Gallium arsenide (GAs)
Nanocrystalline silicon
(microcrystalline silicon)

Amorphous Silicon PV Cells

Poly Crystalline PV Cells

( Non-Silicon based)


Amorphous Silicon

Mono Crystalline PV Cells

Monocrystalline, as the name suggests, is

constructed from a single crystal of silicon, by
cutting from ingots.
This gives the solar panel a uniform appearance
across the entire module.
This crystal is then cut into thin wafers between
0.2mm and 0.3mm thick, which then form the basis
of the solar PV cell.
These solar PV cells are the most efficient, however,
they also tend to be the most expensive to produce.
They are rigid and are mounted in a rigid frame for
They are still more expensive than polycrystalline,
but can be up to 3% more efficient.
It is made using the Czochralski process.
These large single crystals are exceedingly rare, and
the process of 'recrystallising' the cell is more
expensive to produce.

Multicrystalline PV Cells

modules are composed of a number of
different crystals, fused together to make
a single cell (hence the term 'multi').
Hence, PV cells contain multiple silicon

This gives them a blue marbled

appearance (rather than the much darker
colour of monocrystalling solar PV cells).

Polycrystalline solar PV cells are slightly

less efficient than monocrystalline cells,
however, they are also less expensive to

These solar PV cells also need to be

stored in a rigid protective frame.

Silicon Crystalline Technology

Currently makes up 86% of PV market

Very stable with module efficiencies 10-16%

Mono crystalline PV Cells

Multi Crystalline PV Cells

Made using saw-cut from single

Caste from ingot of melted and

Operating efficiency up to 15%

Cell efficiency ~12%

cylindrical crystal of Si

recrystallised silicon

Accounts for 90% of crystalline Si


Thin Film Technology

Silicon deposited in a continuous on a base material such as glass, metal or polymers

Thin-film crystalline solar cell consists of layers about 10m thick compared with
200-300m layers for crystalline silicon cells

Low cost substrate and
fabrication process
Not very stable

Amorphous Silicon PV Cells

Amorphous solar PV cells, are a type of thin film solar

cells and are made from a thin film of amorphous (noncrystalline) silicon.

Silicon is sprayed onto the substrate as a gas (called

'vapour deposition'), which means that the silicon wafer
is approx 1 micron thick (compared to approx 200
microns for mono and poly). This means that the panel
uses less energy to produce. And, it also means that the
panels are far less efficient than mono or poly (approx 56% efficient).

This can be placed on a wide range of different surfaces

and, because the amorphous silicon layer is flexible, if
placed on a flexible surface, then the whole solar PV cell
can be flexible.

These panels are the least expensive to produce but are

also the least efficient than crystalline panels, and a
greater number is required for the same output. On
average, a thin film solar array will need 2.5 times more
roof area than mono or poly.

Amorphous Silicon PV Cells

The most advanced of thin film technologies

Operating efficiency ~6%

Makes up about 13% of PV market

Mature manufacturing
technologies available
Initial 20-40% loss in

Poly Crystalline PV Cells

Cadmium telluride

A cadmium telluride solar cell uses a cadmium telluride

(CdTe) thin film, a semiconductor layer to absorb and convert
sunlight into electricity.

Cadmium telluride PV is the only thin film photovoltaic

technology to surpass crystalline silicon PV in cheapness
(Rs. 44 per watt-peak, with the lowest crystalline silicon (c-Si)
module at Rs. 55 per watt-peak).

The cadmium present in the cells would be toxic if released.

However, release is impossible during normal operation of
the cells and is unlikely during res in residential roofs. A
square meter of CdTe contains approximately the same
amount of Cd as a single C cell Nickel-cadmium battery, in a
more stable and less soluble form.

Poly Crystalline PV Cells

Non Silicon Based Technology
Cadmium Telluride ( CdTe)
Unlike most other II/IV material
CdTe exhibits direct band gap of
1.4eV and high absorption

16% laboratory efficiency
6-9% module efficiency
Immature manufacturing process

Poly Crystalline PV Cells

Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS)

CIGS (CuIn1-xGaxSe2 or CIGS) is a direct band gap

semiconductor. Because the material strongly absorbs
sunlight, a much thinner film is required than of other
semiconductor materials.
Traditional methods of fabrication involve vacuum processes
including co-evaporation and sputtering.
The CIGS absorber is deposited on a glass backing, along
with electrodes to collect current.
CIGS's absorption coefficient is higher than any other
semiconductor used for solar modules.
It has the highest efficiency (~20%)
(~20% among thin film materials.
The market for thin-film PV grew at a 60% annual rate
Therefore, a strong incentive exists to develop and improve
deposition methods for these films that will allow lower cost

Gallium arsenide

developed for special applications such as satellites and
space exploration.

Multi-junction solar cells or tandem cells are solar cells

containing several p-n junctions. Each junction is tuned to
a different wavelength of light, reducing one of the
largest inherent sources of losses, and thereby increasing
These multijunction cells consist of multiple thin films
produced using metal organic vapour phase.
A triple-junction cell, for example, may consist of the
semiconductors: GaAs, Ge, and GaInP 2.
Each type of semiconductor will have a characteristic
band gap energy. The semiconductors are carefully chosen
to absorb nearly all of the solar spectrum, thus generating
electricity from as much of the solar energy as possible.
GaAs based multijunction devices are the most efficient
solar cells till date. (a record high efficiency of 44%).

Nanocrystalline silicon

microcrystalline silicon (c-Si), is a form of porous

It is an allotropic form of silicon with paracrystalline

structure. And it is similar to amorphous silicon (a-Si), in
that it has an amorphous phase.
Where they differ, however, is that nc-Si has small grains
of crystalline silicon within the amorphous phase. And it
is in contrast to polycrystalline silicon (poly-Si) which
consists solely of crystalline silicon grains, separated by
grain boundaries.
nc-Si has many useful advantages over a-Si, one being
that if grown properly it can have a higher electron
mobility, due to the presence of the silicon crystallites. It
also shows increased absorption in the red and infrared
wavelengths, which make it an important material for use
in a-Si solar cells. One of the most important advantages
of nanocrystalline silicon, however, is that it has
increased stability over a-Si.

Semiconductor Material Efficiencies

Emerging Technologies
Discovering new realms of Photovoltaic Technologies

Electrochemical solar cells have their

active component in liquid phase

Dye sensitizers solar cells (DSSCs)

are used to absorb light and create
electron-hole pairs in nanocrystalline
titanium dioxide semiconductor layer

Cell efficiency ~ 7%

DSSCs are made of low-cost

materials. It can be engineered into
flexible sheets, and although its
conversion efficiency is less than the
best thin film cells, However, its
price/performance ratio should be
high enough to allow them to
compete with fossil fuel electrical
Electrochemical solar cells

Environmental Aspects

Exhaustion of raw materials

CO2 emission during fabrication process
Disposal problems of hazardous semiconductor
In spite of all these environmental concerns,
Solar Photovoltaic is one of the cleanest form of energy

Solar Cells Background

First Generation Single Junction Silicon Cells
89.6% of 2007 Production
45.2% Single Crystal Si
42.2% Multi-crystal SI

Large-area, high quality and single junction devices.

High energy and labor inputs
significant progress in reducing production costs.
Single junction silicon devices
theoretical limit efficiency of 33%.
Payback period 57 years.
Single crystal silicon - 16-19% efficiency
Multi-crystal silicon - 14-15% efficiency

Silicon Cell Average Efficiency

Solar Cells Background

Second Generation Thin Film Cells
CdTe 4.7% & CIGS 0.5% of 2007 Production

New materials and processes to improve efficiency and reduce cost.

As manufacturing techniques evolve, production costs will be dominated by
constituent material requirements, whether this be a silicon substrate, or
glass cover. Thin film cells use about 1% of the expensive semiconductors
compared to First Generation cells.
The most successful second generation materials have been cadmium
telluride (CdTe), copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS), amorphous
silicon and micromorphous silicon.
Trend toward second gen., but commercialization has proven difficult.

- First Solar produced 200MW of CdTe solar cells, 5 th largest producer in

and the first to reach top 10 from of second generation technologies alone.
- Wurth Solar commercialized its CIGS technology producing 15MW.
- Nanosolar commercialized its CIGS technology in 2007 with a production
capacity of 430MW for 2008 in the USA and Germany.
- Honda began to commercialize their CIGS base solar panel.

CdTe 8 11% efficiency (18% demonstrated)

CIGS 7-11% efficiency (20% demonstrated)
Payback time < 1 year in Europe

Solar Cells Background

Third Generation Multi-junction Cells
Third generation technologies aim to enhance poor electrical
performance of second generation (thin-film technologies) while
maintaining very low production costs.
Current research is targeting conversion efficiencies of 30-60%
while retaining low cost materials and manufacturing techniques.
They can exceed the theoretical solar conversion efficiency limit for a
single energy threshold material, 31% under 1 sun illumination and
40.8% under the maximal artificial concentration of sunlight (46,200
Approaches to achieving these high efficiencies including the use of
multijunction photovoltaic cells, concentration of the incident
spectrum, the use of thermal generation by UV light to enhance
voltage or carrier collection, or the use of the infrared spectrum for
night-time operation.
Typically use fresnel lens (3M) or other concentrators, but cannot
use diffuse sunlight and require sun tracking hardware
Multi-junction cells 30% efficiency (40-43% demonstrated)

How Solar Cells are Made

Solar Cell
Crystalline Silicon
Thin Film
Gallium Arsenide (more expensive)

Grown into large single-crystal ingots

Sawed into thin wafers
2 wafers are bonded together (p-n
Wafers grouped into panels or arrays

Creating Silicon

Growing Silicon

Czochralski Process

Drawing a Silicon

Silicon Ingots &


silicon wafers
are sawn from

Creating PV Cells

Solar Modules and Arrays

PV Modules have efficiencies approaching 17%

Modules are constructed from PV cells that are encapsulated by several

layers of protective materials.

Solar Panel

An array is a group of PV modules integrated as a single

power-generating unit.

Several modules may be connected together to form a

panel, which is installed as a preassembled unit.

A junction box on the back of a module provides a protected

location for electrical connections and bypass diodes.

PV cells or modules are connected in series strings to build voltage.

The overall I-V characteristics of a series string are dependent on

the similarity of the current outputs of the individual PV devices.

Strings of PV cells or modules are connected in parallel to build current.

The overall I-V curve of PV devices in parallel depends on the

similarity of the current outputs of the individual devices.

The overall I-V curve of PV devices in parallel depends on

the similarity of the current outputs of the individual

Modules are available in several sizes and shapes, including

squares, rectangles, triangles, flexible units, and shingles.

Bypass diodes allow current to flow around devices that

develop an open-circuit or high-resistance condition.

Modules are added in series to form strings or panels,

which are then combined in parallel to form arrays.

Modules are added in series to form strings or

panels, which are then combined in parallel to

Output current of the


For increasing the necessary

output current and
power output, a number of modules having same
nominal voltage to be connected in parallel:

V = Operating voltage of solar generator

I = Operating current of solar generator
Vn = Nominal voltage of a module
Ns = Number of modules connected in series
Np = Number of modules connected in parallel

then NS = V / Vn
= P/V
NP = I / In


operating current

Hence, the total number of modules in the solar generator:

N = N S NP

Solar Power Plant

Types of solar power plant


Photovoltaic solar energy plant

Grid Independent SPP


Grid Connected SPP

Solar thermal energy plant

Concentrating power plant

Photovoltaic solar energy

Solar Cells produce DC power which fluctuates with the
sunlight's intensity. For practical use this usually requires
conversion to certain desired voltages or alternating current
(AC), through the use of inverters.
Multiple solar cells are connected inside modules. Modules are
wired together to form arrays, then tied to an inverter, which
produces power at the desired voltage, and for AC, the desired
Many residential systems are connected to the grid wherever
available, especially in developed countries with large markets.
In these grid-connected PV systems, use of energy storage is

Block Diagram of Solar Power


Mithapur Solar Power

It is a 25 MW solar power plant located in Mithapur

, Gujarat.
Gujarat It is expected to produce 40,734 MWh/year.
The power plant is spread over an area of 100 acres
(40.5ha) The 108,696 modules of polycrystalline
silicon photovoltaic technology were used.
The developer of the solar power plant, is Tata Power
Ltd. The project estimated cost is Rs. 365 crores. The
power plant was commissioned on 25 January 2012.






(Rs crore)

Solar Thermal
energy plant
A solar thermal energy plant will be used for creating
solar generated heaters which can be used for heating
water and also as an indoor heating system.
Thermal cells will be used to capture the energy which
has been generated by the sun and then convert it into
heat energy.
It is also possible to make use of this energy for
cooking purposes and also for drying clothes.
Low temperatures can be used for heating water as
well as swimming pools.
Medium heat is used for heating up the inside of
homes as well as office buildings.

Concentrating power
The systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus
a large area of sunlight into a small beam. The concentrated heat
is then used as a heat source for a conventional power plant.
Various techniques are used to track the Sun and focus light. In
all of these systems a working fluid is heated by the concentrated
sunlight, and is then used for power generation or energy
A parabolic trough consists of a linear parabolic reflector that
concentrates light onto a receiver positioned along the reflector's
focal line. The receiver is a tube positioned right above the
middle of the parabolic mirror and is filled with a working fluid.
The presence of solar power plants in many parts of the world
has made it possible for the energy from the sun to be utilized in
the right manner.


Solar energy is renewable unlike the conventional resources (coal, oil) which will inevitably run out.
Non-polluting, no carbon dioxide like fossil fuels (Free except for capital expenses)
Environmentally friendly because the conversion of energy doesn't produce any carbon dioxide.
It comes from the sun, which, unless you are in The South or North pole, comes out almost
Solar power is better for the environment, compared to burning fossil fuels and other electrical
sun is renewable
You get clean energy without harming the environment [in term of carbon emissions], in certain
countries, excessive power generated can be sold back to local electricity provider
educes pollution
reduced dependence on fossil fuels
It is environmentally friendly and no pollution is associated with solar power
It can be installed anywhere
Batteries can be used to store power for use at night
It does no damage to the earth or its atmosphere
It produces no carbon dioxide
It doesn't have to be dug up from the ground like coal, oil, natural gas, or uranium
It doesn't have to be cut down, like wood from forests.
It produces clean, green power in the form of electricity and can be used to power just about
everything we need.
Solar cells last a long time, typically guaranteed for 20 or 25 years.

PVnomics .

Module costs typically represents only 40-60% of

total PV system cost and the rest is accounted by
inverter, PV array support, electrical cabling and

Most PV solar technologies rely on semiconductorgrade crystalline-silicon wafers, which are

expensive to produce compared with other energy

The high initial cost of the equipment they require

discourages their large-scale commercialization

The Other Side

Use newer and cheaper materials like

amorphous silicon , CuInSe2 , CdTe.

Thin-film solar cells use less than 1% of

the raw material (silicon) compared to
wafer based solar cells, leading to a
significant price drop per kWh.

Incentives may bring down the cost of

solar energy down to 10-12 cents per
kilowatt hour - which can imply a
payback of 5 to 7 years.

Applications @ PV

Water Pumping: PV powered pumping systems are excellent, simple,

reliable life 20 yrs

Commercial Lighting: PV powered lighting systems are reliable and low

cost alternative. Security, billboard sign, area, and outdoor lighting are all
viable applications for PV

Consumer electronics: Solar powered watches, calculators, and cameras

are all everyday applications for PV technologies.


Residential Power: A residence located more than a mile from the electric
grid can install a PV system more inexpensively than extending the
electric grid

(Over 500,000 homes worldwide use PV power as their only source of electricity)

Present PV Scenario in India

In terms of overall installed PV capacity, India comes

fourth after Japan, Germany and U.S.
(With Installed capacity of 110 MW)

In the area of Photovoltaics India today is the second

largest manufacturer in the world of PV panels based
on crystalline solar cells.
(Industrial production in this area has reached a
level of 11 MW per year which is about 10% of the
worlds total PV production)

A major drive has also been initiated by the

Government to export Indian PV products, systems,
technologies and services
(Solar Photovoltaic plant and equipment has been exported to
countries in the Middle East and Africa)

Indian PV Era Vision 2012

Arid regions receive plentiful solar radiation, regions like

Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana receive sunlight in plenty.
Thus the Potential availability - 20 MW/km2 (source IREDA)

IREDA has electrified 18,000 villages by year 2012 mainly

through solar PV systems

Targets have been set for the large scale utilization of PV

technology by different sectors within the next five years

A Step towards achieving the Vision

The Delhi Government has decided to make use of solar power

compulsory for lighting up hoardings and for street lighting

By the year 2030, India should achieve

Energy Independence through solar power
and other forms of renewable energy

Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

President of India
Independence Day Speech, 2005

Non polluting: no noise, harmful or unpleasant
emmisions or smells
Reliable: most solar panels have a 25 year
warranty and even longer life expectancy
Solar modules over their lifetime produce more
power per gram of material than nuclear
power but without the problem of large
volumes of environmentally hazardous material
Solar panels produce more power within 5
years than the power consumed in their
Solar power is a renewable energy source. It
cannot be used up thus is effective in reducing
the usage of fossil fuels
Save more money in the long run

We are unable to utilize the power
of the sun at night or cloudy days
Solar panels are expensive to buy
and hard to set up

Production and Disposal Concerns

Production - Worker Health and Safety

Amorphous silicon -Silane, an explosive gas, is

used in making amorphous silicon. Toxic gases
such as phosphine and diborane are used to
electronically "dope" the material.
Copper indium diselenide -Toxic hydrogen
selenide is sometimes used to make copper
indium diselenide, a thin-film PV material.
Cadmium telluride -Cadmium and its compounds,
which are used in making cadmium telluride PV
cells, can be toxic at high levels of lung exposure.


Module lifespan typically around 30 years

Some material classified as hazardous waste

Recycling process not yet perfected

Why not?

Expensive for Consumers and Producers

Two years output needed to just equal the
amount of energy used in production
Large land areas needed to produce energy
on a power plant scale
Limited by intermittence. Stable grids require
traditional generating facilities or costly
backup to ensure uninterrupted supply.
Due to PV efficiency and low market demand,
technological progression is slow.
Environmental concerns in production and
Lack of subsidies and tax credits (In the U.S.)

Cost Analysis
US retail module price = ~$5/W
Installation cost = ~$3.50/W
Cost for a 4 kW system= ~$17,000
Without subsidies
Typical payback period is ~24 years

Precise calculation of solar electricity
costs depend on the location and the
cost of finance available to the owner
of the solar installation
With the best PV electricity prices (in
the sunniest locations) approaching
30 cents/kWh and the highest tariffs
now exceeding 20 cents/kWh
Funding programs that bridge this
gap are causing rapid growth in sales
of solar PV, especially in Japan and

House of the Future?

This zero-energy
house in the
Netherlands has
30m2 of PV panels
for power
generation and
12m2 of solar
collectors for water
and space heating

Solar PV
Location, Location, Location!

Lower latitudes are better than higher latitudes


Clear sunny skies are better than cloudy skies

However the temperature is not important

Direction solar arrays face

South is preferred, east and west are

However, solar panels are more effective if they
are arranged like trees

Absence of shade

Trees, flatirons, etc

Emerging PV
Cells made from gallium arsenide
Molecular beam epitaxy
35% more efficiency has been observed

Non-silicon panels using carbon

Quantum dots embedded in special
May achieve 30% efficiencies in time

Polymer (organic plastics) solar cells

Suffer rapid degration to date

Thin film Solar Cells

Use less than 1% of silicon
required to make wafers
Silicon vapour deposited on a glass
Amorphous crystalline structure
Many small crystals vs. one large

New roof integrated PV

Flexible PV Cells

Thank YOU!!

How Solar Cells are

Crystalline Silicon
Gallium Arsenide (which are more

Grown into large single-crystal ingots
Sawed into thin wafers
2 wafers are bonded together (p-n
Wafers grouped into panels or arrays

Creating Silicon wafers

Creating a PV Cell

Solar PV system
Building block of PV system
Typically generates 1.5-3 watts of power

36 cells connected together have enough voltage to
charge 12 volt batteries and run pumps and motors
Aka Panels
Made up of multiple cells

Made up of multiple modules
Costs about $5-$6/watt

However, a typical system costs about $8/watt

Types of mounted
Standoff-Mounted Arrays
Rack-and Pole-Mounted Arrays
California Patio Cover

Solar PV Applications

Solar PV Applications

Solar PV Applications

Large Scale Solar Power


electricity still costs more

than electricity generated by conventional
plants in most places, and regulatory
agencies require most utilities to supply the
lowest-cost electricity.

150 MW
a the

Output dependent on weather

Mostly used in Southwest

Solar furnace
project in California

Dish collector
focuses heat to
drive generator

Solar Cell Efficiencies

Typical module efficiencies ~12%
Screen printed multi-crystalline solar

Efficiency range ~6-30%

6% for amorphous silicon-based PV
20% for best commercial cells
30% for multi junction research cells

Typical power of 120W/m2

Solar Panel Efficiency

~1 kW/m2 (sunny day)
~20% efficiency 200W/m2 electricity
Daylight and weather in northern
100 W/m2 in winter; 250 W/m2 in
Or 20 to 50 W/m2 from solar cells

Value of electricity generated at

$0.10/m2/day or $83,000 km2/day

Worlds Largest PV
Solar Plants

World Solar Power


Current energy demand

in the world

Around 0.1% of primary energy demand

Solar electric installations totalled
200MW in 1999, 280MW in 2000 and
340MW by 2001 and 427MW in 2002.

The growth rate is

among the fastest in
energy sources. Most
of the growth is
driven by the growth
in Germany, Japan,
and USA.

From IEA

Non polluting: no noise, harmful or unpleasant
emmisions or smells
Reliable: most solar panels have a 25 year
warranty and even longer life expectancy
Solar modules over their lifetime produce more
power per gram of material than nuclear power
but without the problem of large volumes of
environmentally hazardous material
Solar panels produce more power within 5
years than the power consumed in their
Solar power is a renewable energy source. It
cannot be used up thus is effective in reducing
the usage of fossil fuels
Save more money in the long run

We are unable to utilize the power
of the sun at night or cloudy days
Solar panels are expensive to buy
and hard to set up