These are assembled sets of
interconnected solar cells. The photovoltaic modules are
commonly known as solar panels and are used as a component in large
photovoltaic systems to generate electricity by using light energy from the sun.
is called photovoltaic effect. A photovoltaic mainly consists of
many assembled solar cells. It consists of a transparent front
side, encapsulated solar cells and a back side.
For one to use the cells in a
practical demonstration, the cells must be
- electrically connected to one
another and the rest of the whole system
- protected from moisture as the corrosion could damage the contacts.
- protected from any mechanical
damage from manufacture, transportation, installation and when
- Most modules are generally
rigid but some are flexible, based on thin film cells.
Thin Film modules
Thin film cells are advanced
third generation solar cells. The advantage is that they
produce high efficiency energy conversion at a lower price.
Third generation offers
among others non semi conductor technologies, quantum dot,
multi-junction cells and intermediate band solar cell.
Types of 3rd
generation solar cells
- Cd Te (second generation)
- CIGS( copper Indium gallium
selenide, second generation
- Nanocrystal solar cell.
Of course the research is quite intensive, so expect unexpected and new emerging technology.
Performance and life
The module performance is rated
under Standard Test Conditions (STC)
characteristic of the module includes
- nominal power measure in W
- open circuit voltage
- short circuit current measured
- maximum power voltage
- maximum power current and,
- module efficiency
Solar panels are made to
withstand heat, cold, rain and hail storms for several years.
Many modules come with warranties of guaranteed electrical
production for 10 years at 90% of rated power out and 25 years
at 80%. With more research and modern manufacturing technologies - expect prices to go down rather rapidly over the next 5-10 years.