The term photovoltaics or PV refers to an array of cells containing a solar photovoltaic material that converts solar radiation into direct current electricity.
Photovoltaic research and development has been upped in recent years as the technology is considered a leading renewable consumer energy source. In fact, reports claim photovoltaic production has doubled every two years since 2002 making it the world’s fastest-growing solar power and energy technology as a whole.
How do Solar PV systems work?
Solar PV systems work by converting light into electrical power. This is achieved using a thin layer of semi-conducting material, most commonly silicon, enclosed in a glass or plastic casing. These can range in size with small versions used on watches and calculators to a system of hundreds of square metres of solar PV panels linked up to make an array to power large buildings.
When exposed to sunlight the semi-conducting material causes electrons in the materials’ atoms to be knocked loose. The electrons that are knocked loose then flow through the material to produce an electric current known as a direct current (DC). The direct current is carried through wiring to an inverter which converts the current to alternating current (AC) so it can be connected to your property’s main electricity distribution board. This wiring, in most cases, can easily be fed through existing cable routes in your home.