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PV panels 

Photovoltaic (PV) systems represent the most used technology to convert solar radiation into electricity. A PV module is a grid of cells of semiconductor material, which is able to convert sunlight (photons) to electricity (voltage potential). The electricity from a module is generated in the form of direct current (DC), hence an inverter is required to convert it to alternating current (AC). A single PV cell is small (6”x6” square) and can produce only few Watts of power (1/2 Watts) of direct current electricity (DC), however, most solar panels on today's market produce between 250 and 400 Watts of power. The efficiency of a PV cell is affected by the material of the semiconductor and the PV cell technology. Most PV modules are based on crystalline silicon solar cells, which combine good efficiency and relatively low cost. Other PV cells technologies available on the market include thin films, which consist of thin layers of semi conductive material for enhanced flexibility and lightweight, suitable for portable applications or to be used as a building integrated PV system (BIPV). Some types of thin-film PV cells are easier to manufacture and scale up compared to silicon cells but they are characterized by a lower efficiency [1]. Other technologies include III-V single- and multi-junction solar cells made from elements from the groups III and V, and next generation cells which are manufactured using organic materials, quantum dots and perovskites (hybrid organic inorganic material) [2].  

PV modules can be connected and arranged in a PV array. 

Source: http://www.hybuild.eu/  


In addition to the PV panels, a PV system includes wires to connect modules, junction boxes, mounting hardware, power electronics to manage the PV array’s output and a charge controller to manage the energy storage (i.e. batteries) [3].All those components are part of the Balance of system (BOS).  A PV system can be grid connected or off-grid.  Most typically, PV panels are installed on roofs or on the ground. In the latter case, PV arrays can be mounted in a fixed position (usually facing south at EU latitudes), or on devices that track the sun to increase the energy production. 

Source https://www.renergy.com.mt/projects-domestic-pv-panels-malta/  


PV is a mature technology (TRL 9). According to [4] the total capacity of PV installed worldwide is growing exponentially. In the year 2021, the total capacity installed is 942 GW (175 GW more than 2020). Nevertheless, research is putting effort to develop innovative PV cells to make this solution more cost competitive and efficient. In particular, perovskites represent one of the most promising solutions for a low cost and high efficiency PV, but is still facing some challenge such as durability and low efficiency when scaled up. 

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