Photovoltaic module

Photovoltaic module

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A solar panel is a packaged, connected assembly of solar cell
Solar cell
A solar cell is a solid state electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect....

s, also known as photovoltaic cells. The solar panel can be used as a component of a larger photovoltaic system to generate and supply electricity in commercial and residential applications.

Because a single solar panel can produce only a limited amount of power, many installations contain several panels. A photovoltaic system
Photovoltaic system
A photovoltaic system is a system which uses one or more solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. It consists of multiple components, including the photovoltaic modules, mechanical and electrical connections and mountings and means of regulating and/or modifying the electrical...

 typically includes an array of solar panels, an inverter
Inverter (electrical)
An inverter is an electrical device that converts direct current to alternating current ; the converted AC can be at any required voltage and frequency with the use of appropriate transformers, switching, and control circuits....

, and sometimes a battery
Battery (electricity)
An electrical battery is one or more electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. Since the invention of the first battery in 1800 by Alessandro Volta and especially since the technically improved Daniell cell in 1836, batteries have become a common power...

 and interconnection wiring.

Theory and construction



Solar panels use light energy (photon
Photon
In physics, a photon is an elementary particle, the quantum of the electromagnetic interaction and the basic unit of light and all other forms of electromagnetic radiation. It is also the force carrier for the electromagnetic force...

s) from the sun to generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect
Photovoltaic effect
The photovoltaic effect is the creation of voltage or electric current in a material upon exposure to light. Though the photovoltaic effect is directly related to the photoelectric effect, they are different processes. In the photoelectric effect, electrons are ejected from a material's surface...

. The structural (load carrying) member of a module can either be the top layer or the back layer. The majority of modules use wafer-based crystalline silicon cells or thin-film cells
Thin film solar cell
A thin-film solar cell , also called a thin-film photovoltaic cell , is a solar cell that is made by depositing one or more thin layers of photovoltaic material on a substrate...

 based on cadmium telluride
Cadmium telluride
Cadmium telluride is a crystalline compound formed from cadmium and tellurium. It is used as an infrared optical window and a solar cell material. It is usually sandwiched with cadmium sulfide to form a p-n junction photovoltaic solar cell...

 or silicon
Silicon
Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. A tetravalent metalloid, it is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon, the nonmetal directly above it in the periodic table, but more reactive than germanium, the metalloid directly below it in the table...

. The conducting wires that take the current off the panels may contain silver, copper or other non-magnetic conductive transition metals.

The cells must be connected electrically to one another and to the rest of the system. Cells must also be protected from mechanical damage and moisture. Most solar panels are rigid, but semi-flexible ones are available, based on thin-film cells.

Electrical connections are made in series to achieve a desired output voltage and/or in parallel to provide a desired current capability.

Separate diode
Diode
In electronics, a diode is a type of two-terminal electronic component with a nonlinear current–voltage characteristic. A semiconductor diode, the most common type today, is a crystalline piece of semiconductor material connected to two electrical terminals...

s may be needed to avoid reverse currents, in case of partial or total shading, and at night. The p-n junction
P-n junction
A p–n junction is formed at the boundary between a P-type and N-type semiconductor created in a single crystal of semiconductor by doping, for example by ion implantation, diffusion of dopants, or by epitaxy .If two separate pieces of material were used, this would...

s of mono-crystalline silicon cells may have adequate reverse current characteristics that these are not necessary. Reverse currents waste power and can also lead to overheating of shaded cells. Solar cells become less efficient at higher temperatures and installers try to provide good ventilation behind solar panels.

Some recent solar panel designs include concentrator
Concentrator
In telecommunication, the term concentrator has the following meanings:# In data transmission, a functional unit that permits a common path to handle more data sources than there are channels currently available within the path...

s in which light is focused by lenses
Lens (optics)
A lens is an optical device with perfect or approximate axial symmetry which transmits and refracts light, converging or diverging the beam. A simple lens consists of a single optical element...

 or mirrors onto an array of smaller cells. This enables the use of cells with a high cost per unit area (such as gallium arsenide) in a cost-effective way.

Depending on construction, photovoltaic panels can produce electricity from a range of frequencies of light
Frequency
Frequency is the number of occurrences of a repeating event per unit time. It is also referred to as temporal frequency.The period is the duration of one cycle in a repeating event, so the period is the reciprocal of the frequency...

, but usually cannot cover the entire solar range (specifically, ultraviolet
Ultraviolet
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength shorter than that of visible light, but longer than X-rays, in the range 10 nm to 400 nm, and energies from 3 eV to 124 eV...

, infrared
Infrared
Infrared light is electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength longer than that of visible light, measured from the nominal edge of visible red light at 0.74 micrometres , and extending conventionally to 300 µm...

 and low or diffused light). Hence much of the incident sunlight
Sunlight
Sunlight, in the broad sense, is the total frequency spectrum of electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. On Earth, sunlight is filtered through the Earth's atmosphere, and solar radiation is obvious as daylight when the Sun is above the horizon.When the direct solar radiation is not blocked...

 energy is wasted by solar panels, and they can give far higher efficiencies if illuminated with monochromatic light. Therefore, another design concept is to split the light into different wavelength ranges and direct the beams onto different cells tuned to those ranges. This has been projected to be capable of raising efficiency by 50%.

Currently the best achieved sunlight conversion rate (solar panel efficiency) is around 21% in commercial products, typically lower than the efficiencies of their cells in isolation. The energy density
Energy density
Energy density is a term used for the amount of energy stored in a given system or region of space per unit volume. Often only the useful or extractable energy is quantified, which is to say that chemically inaccessible energy such as rest mass energy is ignored...

 of a solar panel is the efficiency described in terms of peak power output per unit of surface area, commonly expressed in units of watts per square foot (W/ft2). The most efficient mass-produced solar panels have energy density values of greater than 13 W/ft2 (140 W/m2).

Crystalline silicon modules



Most solar modules are currently produced from silicon
Silicon
Silicon is a chemical element with the symbol Si and atomic number 14. A tetravalent metalloid, it is less reactive than its chemical analog carbon, the nonmetal directly above it in the periodic table, but more reactive than germanium, the metalloid directly below it in the table...

 photovoltaic cells
Solar cell
A solar cell is a solid state electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect....

. These are typically categorized as monocrystalline
Single crystal
A single crystal or monocrystalline solid is a material in which the crystal lattice of the entire sample is continuous and unbroken to the edges of the sample, with no grain boundaries...

 or polycrystalline modules.

Thin-film modules



Third generation solar cells are advanced thin-film cells. They produce high-efficiency conversion at low cost.

Rigid thin-film modules


In rigid thin film modules, the cell and the module are manufactured in the same production line.

The cell is created on a glass substrate or superstrate, and the electrical connections are created in situ, a so called "monolithic integration". The substrate or superstrate is laminated with an encapsulant to a front or back sheet
Sheet
Sheet may refer to:* A flat piece of cloth, paper, or other material** Bed sheet, a piece of cloth used to cover a mattress** A piece of paper*** Balance sheet, a financial summary of assets and liabilities*** Sheet music, a form of musical notation...

, usually another sheet of glass.

The main cell technologies in this category are CdTe
Cadmium telluride
Cadmium telluride is a crystalline compound formed from cadmium and tellurium. It is used as an infrared optical window and a solar cell material. It is usually sandwiched with cadmium sulfide to form a p-n junction photovoltaic solar cell...

, or a-Si
Amorphous silicon
Amorphous silicon is the non-crystalline allotropic form of silicon. It can be deposited in thin films at low temperatures onto a variety of substrates, offering some unique capabilities for a variety of electronics.-Description:...

, or a-Si+uc-Si tandem, or CIGS
Copper indium gallium selenide
Copper indium gallium selenide is a I-III-VI2 semiconductor material composed of copper, indium, gallium, and selenium. The material is a solid solution of copper indium selenide and copper gallium selenide...

 (or variant). Amorphous silicon has a sunlight conversion rate of 6-12%.

Flexible thin-film modules


Flexible thin film cells and modules are created on the same production line by depositing the photoactive layer
Photoactive layer
A photoactive layer is used in solar cells for absorbing light. It can be found in all solar cells, but with different panels the photoactive layer is made of different materials. Inorganic layers are made from inorganic materials such as silicon. The film has a layer arrangement of electrodes and...

 and other necessary layer
Layer
Layer may refer to:* A layer of archaeological deposits in an excavation* A layer hen, a hen raised to produce eggs* Stratum, a layer of rock or soil with internally consistent characteristics...

s on a flexible substrate.

If the substrate is an insulator (e.g. polyester
Polyester
Polyester is a category of polymers which contain the ester functional group in their main chain. Although there are many polyesters, the term "polyester" as a specific material most commonly refers to polyethylene terephthalate...

 or polyimide
Polyimide
Polyimide is a polymer of imide monomers. The structure of imide is as shown. Polyimides have been in mass production since 1955...

 film) then monolithic
Die (integrated circuit)
A die in the context of integrated circuits is a small block of semiconducting material, on which a given functional circuit is fabricated.Typically, integrated circuits are produced in large batches on a single wafer of electronic-grade silicon or other semiconductor through processes such as...

 integration can be used.

If it is a conductor then another technique for electrical connection must be used.

The cells are assembled into modules by laminating them to a transparent colourless fluoropolymer
Fluoropolymer
A fluoropolymer is a fluorocarbon based polymer with multiple strong carbon–fluorine bonds. It is characterized by a high resistance to solvents, acids, and bases.-History:Fluoropolymers were accidentally discovered in 1938 by Dr. Roy J...

 on the front side (typically ETFE
ETFE
Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene, ETFE, a fluorine based plastic, was designed to have high corrosion resistance and strength over a wide temperature range. ETFE is a polymer, and its systematic name is poly. ETFE has a very high melting temperature, excellent chemical, electrical and high energy...

 or FEP
Fluorinated ethylene propylene
Fluorinated ethylene propylene or FEP is a copolymer of hexafluoropropylene and tetrafluoroethylene. It differs from the PTFE resins in that it is melt-processible using conventional injection molding and screw extrusion techniques. Fluorinated ethylene propylene was invented by DuPont and is sold...

) and a polymer suitable for bonding to the final substrate on the other side. The only commercially available (in MW quantities) flexible module uses amorphous silicon
Amorphous silicon
Amorphous silicon is the non-crystalline allotropic form of silicon. It can be deposited in thin films at low temperatures onto a variety of substrates, offering some unique capabilities for a variety of electronics.-Description:...

 triple junction
Multijunction photovoltaic cell
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 efficiency...

 (from Unisolar).

So-called inverted metamorphic (IMM) multijunction solar cells made on compound-semiconductor technology
Compound semiconductor
A compound semiconductor is a semiconductor compound composed of elements from two or more different groups of the periodic table . These semiconductors typically form in groups 13-16 ,...

 are just becoming commercialized in July 2008. The University of Michigan
University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is a public research university located in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the United States. It is the state's oldest university and the flagship campus of the University of Michigan...

's solar car
Solar car
A solar vehicle is an electric vehicle powered completely or significantly by direct solar energy. Usually, photovoltaic cells contained in solar panels convert the sun's energy directly into electric energy. The term "solar vehicle" usually implies that solar energy is used to power all or part...

 that won the North American Solar Challenge in July 2008 used IMM thin-film flexible solar cells.

The requirements for residential and commercial are different in that the residential needs are simple and can be packaged so that as solar cell technology progresses, the other base line equipment such as the battery, inverter and voltage sensing transfer switch still need to be compacted and unitized for residential use. Commercial use, depending on the size of the service will be limited in the photovoltaic cell arena, and more complex parabolic reflectors and solar concentrators are becoming the dominant technology.

The global flexible and thin-film photovoltaic (PV) market, despite caution in the overall PV industry, is expected to experience a CAGR of over 35% to 2019, surpassing 32 GW according to a major new study by IntertechPira.

Module embedded electronics



Several companies have begun embedding electronics into PV modules. This enables performing maximum power point tracking (MPPT) for each module individually, and the measurement of performance data for monitoring and fault detection at module level. Some of these solutions make use of power optimizer
Power optimizer
A power optimizer is a DC to DC converter technology developed to maximize the energy harvest from solar photovoltaic or wind turbine systems. They do this by individually tuning the performance of the panel or wind turbine through maximum power point tracking, and optionally tuning the output to...

s, a DC-to-DC converter technology developed to maximize the power harvest from solar photovoltaic systems. As of about 2010, such electronics can also compensate for shading effects, wherein a shadow falling across a section of a panel causes the electrical output of one or more strings of cells in the panel to fall to zero, but not having the output of the entire panel fall to zero.

Module performance and lifetime


Module performance is generally rated under standard test conditions (STC): irradiance
Irradiance
Irradiance is the power of electromagnetic radiation per unit area incident on a surface. Radiant emittance or radiant exitance is the power per unit area radiated by a surface. The SI units for all of these quantities are watts per square meter , while the cgs units are ergs per square centimeter...

 of 1,000 W/m², solar spectrum
Spectrum
A spectrum is a condition that is not limited to a specific set of values but can vary infinitely within a continuum. The word saw its first scientific use within the field of optics to describe the rainbow of colors in visible light when separated using a prism; it has since been applied by...

 of AM
Airmass
In astronomy, air mass is the optical path length through Earth’s atmosphere for light from a celestial source. As it passes through the atmosphere, light is attenuated by scattering and absorption; the more atmosphere through which it passes, the greater the attenuation. Consequently, celestial...

 1.5 and module temperature at 25°C.

Electrical characteristics include nominal power (PMAX, measured in W
Watt
The watt is a derived unit of power in the International System of Units , named after the Scottish engineer James Watt . The unit, defined as one joule per second, measures the rate of energy conversion.-Definition:...

), open circuit voltage (VOC), short circuit current (ISC, measured in ampere
Ampere
The ampere , often shortened to amp, is the SI unit of electric current and is one of the seven SI base units. It is named after André-Marie Ampère , French mathematician and physicist, considered the father of electrodynamics...

s), maximum power voltage (VMPP), maximum power current (IMPP), peak power, kWp, and module efficiency (%).

Nominal voltage refers to the voltage of the battery that the module is best suited to charge; this is a leftover term from the days when solar panels were used only to charge batteries. The actual voltage output of the panel changes as lighting, temperature and load conditions change, so there is never one specific voltage at which the panel operates. Nominal voltage allows users, at a glance, to make sure the panel is compatible with a given system.

Open circuit voltage or VOC is the maximum voltage that the panel can produce when not connected to an electrical circuit or system. VOC can be measured with a meter directly on an illuminated panel's terminals or on its disconnected cable.

The peak power rating, kWp, is the maximum output according under standard test conditions (not the maximum possible output).

Solar panels must withstand heat, cold, rain and hail
Hail
Hail is a form of solid precipitation. It consists of balls or irregular lumps of ice, each of which is referred to as a hail stone. Hail stones on Earth consist mostly of water ice and measure between and in diameter, with the larger stones coming from severe thunderstorms...

 for many years. Many crystalline silicon module manufacturers offer a warranty
Warranty
In business and legal transactions, a warranty is an assurance by one party to the other party that specific facts or conditions are true or will happen; the other party is permitted to rely on that assurance and seek some type of remedy if it is not true or followed.In real estate transactions, a...

 that guarantees electrical production for 10 years at 90% of rated power output and 25 years at 80%.

Production


15.9 GW
GW
-Science and technology:* .gw, the Internet top-level domain of Guinea-Bissau* Gateway * GateWorld* The symbol for GigaWatt, a unit for measuring electric power, equal to 109 watts* Global warming...

 of solar PV system installations were completed in 2010, with solar PV pricing survey and market research company PVinsights reporting growth of 117.8% in solar PV installation on a year-on-year basis. With over 100% year-on-year growth in PV system installation, PV module makers dramatically increased their shipments of solar panels in 2010. They actively expanded their capacity and turned themselves into gigawatt GW
GW
-Science and technology:* .gw, the Internet top-level domain of Guinea-Bissau* Gateway * GateWorld* The symbol for GigaWatt, a unit for measuring electric power, equal to 109 watts* Global warming...

 players. According to PVinsights, five of the top ten PV module companies in 2010 are GW players. Suntech, First Solar, Sharp, Yingli and Trina Solar are GW producers now, and most of them doubled their shipments in 2010.

Top ten producers


The top ten solar panel producers (by MW shipments) in 2010 were:
  1. Suntech
  2. First Solar
    First Solar
    First Solar, Inc. is an American manufacturer of thin film photovoltaic modules, or solar panels, and a provider to PV power plants of supporting services that include finance, construction, maintenance and end-of-life panel recycling...

  3. Sharp Solar
    Sharp Solar
    Sharp Solar produces thin film modules and mono and poly-crystalline silicon solar cells. Sharp's photovoltaic modules are used for many applications, from satellites to lighthouses, and industrial applications to residential use. Sharp began researching solar cells in 1959 with mass production...

  4. Yingli
    Yingli
    Yingli also known as Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited , which holds the brand Yingli Solar, is a solar energy company and one of the largest vertically integrated manufacturers of photovoltaic solar modules...

  5. Trina Solar
    Trina Solar
    Trina Solar Limited is a Chinese manufacturer of photovoltaic modules, which was founded in 1997 as a system installation company. Trina Solar's solar modules provide electric power for residential, commercial, industrial and other applications worldwide....

  6. Canadian Solar
    Canadian Solar
    Canadian Solar Inc. is a Canadian manufacturer of photovoltaic cells and panels. It was founded by Chinese Canadian Shawn Qu.Canadian Solar is ranked sixth largest producer in the world by PVinsights and seventh by Bloomberg New Energy Finance...

  7. Hanwha Solarone
    Hanwha SolarOne
    Hanwha SolarOne, Ltd. is a Chinese manufacturer of photovoltaic cells and panels. They are ranked seventh largest producer in the world by PVinsights....

  8. Sunpower
    SunPower
    SunPower Corporation designs and manufactures high-efficiency crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells, roof tiles and solar panels based on a silicon all-back-contact solar cell invented at Stanford University. SunPower Corporation is publicly traded on the NASDAQ as SPWRA and SPWRB...

  9. Renewable Energy Corporation
    Renewable Energy Corporation
    The Renewable Energy Corporation is a solar power company with headquarters in Norway. REC produces silicon materials for photovoltaics applications and multicrystalline wafers, as well as solar cells and modules...

  10. Solarworld
    SolarWorld
    SolarWorld is a German company dedicated to the manufacture and marketing photovoltaic products worldwide by integrating all components of the solar value chain, from feedstock to module production, from trade with solar panels to the promotion and construction of turn-key solar power plants...


Price



Average pricing information divides in three pricing categories: those buying small quantities (modules of all sizes in the kilowatt range annually), mid-range buyers (typically up to 10 MWp annually), and large quantity buyers (self explanatory—and with access to the lowest prices). Over the long term—and only in the long-term—there is clearly a systematic reduction in the price of cells and modules. For example in 1998 it was estimated that the quantity cost per watt was about $4.50, which was 33 times lower than the cost in 1970 of $150.

Following to RMI
RMI
RMI can refer to:In computing:* RMI Corporation, a semiconductor company manufacturing CPUs* Remote Method Invocation, a Java application programming interface* Rights Management Information, under WIPO Internet Treaties...

, Balance-of-System
Balance of system
The balance of system or BOS encompasses all components of a photovoltaic system other than the photovoltaic panels. This includes wiring, switches, support racks, an inverter, and batteries in the case of off-grid systems. In the case of free-standing systems, land is sometimes included as part of...

 (BoS) elements, this is, non-module cost of non-microinverter  solar panels (as wiring, converters, racking systems and various components) make up about half of the total costs of installations. Also, standardizing technologies could encourage greater adoption of solar panels and, in turn, economies of scale.

Trackers


Solar tracker
Solar tracker
A solar tracker is a generic term used to describe devices that orient various payloads toward the sun. Payloads can be photovoltaic panels, reflectors, lenses or other optical devices....

s increase the amount of energy produced per panel at a cost of mechanical complexity and need for maintenance. They sense the direction of the Sun and tilt the panels as needed for maximum exposure to the light.

Fixed racks


Fixed racks hold panels stationary as the sun moves across the sky. The fixed rack sets the angle at which the panel is held. Tilt angles equivalent to an installation's latitude are common.

Ground mounted



Ground mounted solar power systems consist of solar panels held in place by racks or frames that are attached to ground based mounting supports.

Ground based mounting supports include:
  • Pole mounts, which are driven directly into the ground or embedded in concrete.
  • Foundation mounts, such as concrete slabs or poured footings
  • Ballasted footing mounts, such as concrete or steel bases that use weight to secure the solar panel system in position and do not require ground penetration. This type of mounting system allows for decommissioning or relocation of solar panel systems with no ground excavation.


Roof mounted


Roof mounted solar power systems consist of solar panels held in place by racks or frames attached to roof based mounting supports.

Roof based mounting supports include:
  • Pole mounts, which are attached directly to the roof structure and may use additional rails for attaching the panel racking or frames.
  • Ballasted footing mounts, such as concrete or steel bases that use weight to secure the panel system in position and do not require through penetration. This mounting method allows for decommissioning or relocation of solar panel systems with no adverse effect on the roof structure.

Standards


Standards generally used in photovoltaic panels:
  • IEC
    International Electrotechnical Commission
    The International Electrotechnical Commission is a non-profit, non-governmental international standards organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies – collectively known as "electrotechnology"...

     61215 (crystalline silicon performance), 61646 (thin film
    Thin film
    A thin film is a layer of material ranging from fractions of a nanometer to several micrometers in thickness. Electronic semiconductor devices and optical coatings are the main applications benefiting from thin film construction....

     performance) and 61730 (all modules, safety)
  • ISO 9488 Solar energy—Vocabulary.
  • UL
    Underwriters Laboratories
    Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is an independent product safety certification organization. Established in 1894, the company has its headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois. UL develops standards and test procedures for products, materials, components, assemblies, tools and equipment, chiefly dealing...

     1703
  • UL 1741
  • CE mark
    CE mark
    CE marking is a mandatory conformity mark for products placed on the market in the European Economic Area . With the CE marking on a product the manufacturer ensures that the product conforms with the essential requirements of the applicable EC directives...

  • Electrical Safety Tester (EST) Series (EST-460, EST-22V, EST-22H, EST-110).

Devices with photovoltaic modules



Electric devices that includes solar panels:
  • Solar cell phone : Sharp
    Sharp Corporation
    is a Japanese multinational corporation that designs and manufactures electronic products. Headquartered in Abeno-ku, Osaka, Japan, Sharp employs more than 55,580 people worldwide as of June 2011. The company was founded in September 1912 and takes its name from one of its founder's first...

     announced that its first solar-powered cell phone would be released in summer, 2009.
  • Solar lamp
    Solar lamp
    A solar lamp is a portable light fixture composed of a LED lamp, a photovoltaic solar panel, and a rechargeable battery.Outdoor lamps are used for lawn and garden decorations. Indoor solar lamps are also used for general illumination .Solar lights are used for decoration, and come in a wide variety...

  • Solar notebook
    Solar notebook
    The solar notebook is a laptop with powerful batteries that are recharged by solar panel attached to the notebook.- Features :Unlike regular laptops, some models of solar notebooks come with a flap-like structure which functions as a solar panel and can be removed if required. This generates...

    : IUNIKA makes the first Solar Powered Netbook, the Gyy.
  • Solar-pumped laser
    Solar-pumped laser
    A solar-pumped laser, is a laser that shares the same optical properties as conventional lasers such as emitting a beam consisting of coherent electromagnetic radiation which can reach high power, but which uses solar radiation for pumping the lasing medium...

  • Solar vehicle
    Solar vehicle
    A solar vehicle is an electric vehicle powered completely or significantly by direct solar energy. Usually, photovoltaic cells contained in solar panels convert the sun's energy directly into electric energy. The term "solar vehicle" usually implies that solar energy is used to power all or part...

  • Solar plane


Space stations and various spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 employ, or have employed photovoltaic panels to generate power.
  • Soyuz spacecraft
    Soyuz spacecraft
    Soyuz , Union) is a series of spacecraft initially designed for the Soviet space programme by the Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s, and still in service today...

  • International Space Station
    International Space Station
    The International Space Station is a habitable, artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS follows the Salyut, Almaz, Cosmos, Skylab, and Mir space stations, as the 11th space station launched, not including the Genesis I and II prototypes...

  • Skylab
    Skylab
    Skylab was a space station launched and operated by NASA, the space agency of the United States. Skylab orbited the Earth from 1973 to 1979, and included a workshop, a solar observatory, and other systems. It was launched unmanned by a modified Saturn V rocket, with a mass of...

     space laboratory
  • Mir
    Mir
    Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...

     space station

See also



  • Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV).
  • Cleaning event
    Cleaning event
    A cleaning event is a phenomenon whereby dust is removed from solar panels, particularly ones on Mars, by the action of wind. The term cleaning event is used on several NASA webpages; generally the term is used in reference to the fact that Martian winds have blown dust clear of the solar panels of...

     (Mars Exploration Rover phenomenon)
  • Distributed inverter architecture
  • Domestic energy consumption
    Domestic Energy Consumption
    Domestic energy consumption is the amount of energy that is spent on the different appliances used within housing. The amount of energy used per household varies widely depending on the standard of living of the country, climate, and the age and type of residence...

    ; supplies energy requirement numbers for private homes which is needed for anyone thinking of installing their own PV solar panels
  • Insulated glazing
    Insulated glazing
    Insulated glazing also known as double glazing are double or triple glass window panes separated by an air or other gas filled space to reduce heat transfer across a part of the building envelope....

  • Moore's Law
    Moore's Law
    Moore's law describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware: the number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years....

  • Photovoltaics
    Photovoltaics
    Photovoltaics is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cells containing a photovoltaic material...

     e.g. applications
  • Photovoltaic system
    Photovoltaic system
    A photovoltaic system is a system which uses one or more solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity. It consists of multiple components, including the photovoltaic modules, mechanical and electrical connections and mountings and means of regulating and/or modifying the electrical...

  • List of photovoltaics companies
  • Sky footage
    Sky footage
    Sky footage is the total exposure of any area being considered for a solar panel installation. This includes roof installation or ground installation where the area is dedicated to the capturing of solar energy....

  • Smart grid
  • Solar roadway
    Solar roadway
    A solar roadway is a road surface that generates electricity by solar photovoltaics. One current proposal is for 12 ft x 12 ft panels including solar panels and LED signage, that can be driven on. The concept involves replacing highways, roads, parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks with...

  • Superstrate
  • UV degradation
    UV degradation
    Many natural and synthetic polymers are attacked by ultra-violet radiation and products made using these materials may crack or disintegrate . The problem is known as UV degradation, and is a common problem in products exposed to sunlight...

  • Solar pond
    Solar pond
    A solar pond is a pool of saltwater which acts as a large-scale solar thermal energy collector with integral heat storage for supplying thermal energy...

  • Solar Module Quality Assurance
    Solar module quality assurance
    Solar module quality assurance involves testing and evaluating solar cells to ensure the quality requirements of them are met. Solar modules are expected to have a long service life between 20 and 40 years. They must constantly and consistently deliver the power expected. In addition, modules are...



External links