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Photovoltaic Facts
Last Updated on:  06/25/2015 06:31 AM

  • The scientists invented photovoltaic cells (or panels) to capture the sun's energy and turn it into electricity. They wanted to use this solar electricity to power satellites in space.
  • Photovoltaic energy is the conversion of sunlight into electricity through a photovoltaic (PVs) cell, commonly called a solar cell.  A photovoltaic cell is a nonmechanical device usually made from silicon alloys.
  • The pv cell was discovered in 1954 by Bell Telephone researchers examining the sensitivity of a properly prepared silicon wafer to sunlight.  Beginning in the late 1950s, pvs were used to power U.S. space satellites. 
  • Photovoltaic cells are made up like a sandwich - two layers of silicon containing special chemicals. Sunlight is used to charge electrons in the silicon layers. The energised electrons move through the cell and flow into a wire, creating an electric current.
  • Solar photovoltaic power is the same technology that powers some calculators and watches. It is also used for remote telephones in some regional areas. The power of the sun is also used as a direct source in solar hot water units.
  • Solar power is particularly useful in remote areas (and there are a lot of these in Australia) where regular electricity supply is not available.
  • PV modules covering an area about 110 miles by 110 miles of the land in the United States, one-third the land occupied by roadways, could supply all the electricity consumed here.
  • PV-generated power correlates well with utilities' daily load patterns, because the power is available when it is needed mostóduring daylight hours.

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Passive Solar Links

National Solar Thermal Test Facility :  new link -- U.S. Department of Energy's test facility devoted to the development of the use of solar energy. Website features virtual tour of the facility.
ScanWafer AS :  new link -- Producer of high quality multicrystalline wafers for the PV industry.
Thermomax Technologies :  new link -- Provider in the renewable industry including design consultation and coordination of PV system installation.

More PV links >>>  

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