What is Solar PV?

An introduction

More and more people across the world are turning toward solar power to meet their daily energy needs. Photovoltaic (PV) and Solar Thermal are two popular and established technologies used to generate electricity from the sun.

Both of these solar power technologies generate electricity using the same principle. They work by absorbing the sun’s rays and converting them into usable energy.

While they’re often used interchangeably, there is a significant difference between solar photovoltaic and solar thermal.

Solar PV is used to generate electricity from the sun’s rays and use it to power appliances.

Solar Thermal panels are completely different. The panels act as the sunlight collectors that heat a special liquid within small tubes in the panel itself. The tubes then transport heated liquid into a cylinder and make it ready for use directly as a source of heat in the solar water heating system.

So generally, Solar PV generates electricity, Solar Thermal generates heat only.

How Does Solar Photovoltaic Work?
Photovoltaic technology involves the use of semiconductors (such as monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and cadmium telluride) to directly convert the sun’s rays into electricity for your house or business.

When the sun shines on a solar panel on your rooftop, photons present in the sun’s rays trigger the semi-conductors to release electrons. Now, this is the photovoltaic effect process in action. This reaction results in the flow of electrical currents, which can be turned into usable electrical power.

The PV (photovoltaic) system can be connected to the national electricity grid by means of an inverter that converts the DC (direct current) produced by the solar panels into AC (alternate current) that we use to power our household lights and and appliances.

It is therefore obvious that photovoltaics only operate within daylight hours. You attain a constant electricity supply by using grid electricity by night and solar pv electricity by day. It makes sense therefore to use most of your electricity by day when you’re generating it yourself.

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