Introduction to Photovoltaic (PV) Systems

Growing concerns of the use of the worlds natural resources and our future energy supply, has increased the need and development of solar power. There by developing Photovoltaics, a solar energy technology that uses the semi-conductors to directly convert solar radiation into electricity. Photovoltaic (PV) systems use wafers, which are typically made of crystalline silicon when exposed to sunlight will produce a small direct current. When these PV cells or solar cells are combined in a large arrangement also known as modules they will produce large amounts of electrical power with no moving parts, noise or emissions. This is dependent on the size and arrangement of the PV system and PV module array combined with electrical components to covert solar energy into electricity usable by loads in your home or building.

Most electricity is distributed through an electrical utility which, is the company that produces and/or distributes electricity to consumers in a region or state. The electricity is distributed along the grid which, is the utility’s network of conductors, substations, and equipment that distributes electricity from its central hub to the consumer. The grid can span hundreds of miles from the power plants to thousands of homes and businesses. By having a PV system, you don’t have to rely on the utility if there is a system distribution break down along the grid. Outages though rare, do still occur under certain circumstances such as overloaded systems or severe weather events. But, having a PV system allows you to create your own power to supply your entire house and lifestyle without being tied to the issues that can occur with utility grids. You only require the utility to activate the system and use the grid until your system is actively producing energy output your household/ business requires. Throughout the year your energy consumption changes and what energy you don’t use from the PV system will be banked along the utility grid. This can then be used during night hours or during times of the year when the sun isn’t as intense or if shading occurs due to weather.