A solar cell or panel is coated with a semiconductor material, that converts light into a current or voltage which can be harnessed to use as electricity.
At first, this technology was used only in deep space and was highly specialized and expensive. But the numerous benefits associated with such a power generating method and developments in technology, have led to a boom in using photovoltaic systems for generating power.
In fact, solar photovoltaic system is regarded as one of the fastest growing and popular uses of solar energy. Here, the advantages of solar photovoltaic energy are listed and analyzed to emphasize the usefulness of this alternative energy method.
Solar Photovoltaic Energy Advantages
I. Meeting the Power Requirements
Photovoltaic system requires light to convert into electricity. The Earth receives approximately 90,000 terawatts of energy or power. The average power consumption around the globe is 15 terawatts.
The numbers speak for themselves, the Earth is receiving such a lot of power from a renewable and continuous energy source. Such a source of energy can definitely fulfill the power requirements of the world's population.
II. Convenient Energy Source
All you need is light. And light comes from the Sun, whose reach is everywhere and requires nothing to be produced. Suppose a scientific research center is to be set up on a deserted island, far off in the middle of an ocean. There are no power lines, no source of electricity, because there is no infrastructure. There is no system of transportation either.
Setting up a solar photovoltaic system to generate power for the center is an ideal solution. Using sunlight to generate electricity, means not having to arrange for electricity through transport or constructing power plants.
In remote locations, with no power grid to tap into and transportation means are limited, using renewable energy source to generate power to run a building, small town or a city, is a smart way. In space, rural and lesser developed areas, difficult to access locations, solar photovoltaic energy is an invaluable and effective method to generate electricity.
III. Efficient and Money Saving
A photovoltaic system is flexible in its use. Your PV can still be a stand-alone power unit, where all the power is consumed from it alone. Or you can be connected to your local power grid, so in case of emergencies or loss of power from the PV system, you will still get power.
This sort of connection also lessens the load on your local power grid. Excess power produced from your PV system? No problem, you can even sell this extra power to your power grid company or solar energy corporations.
A PV system is not a huge obstructing system. It is made up of parts and is actually compact and convenient in its placement. The unused space on top of buildings, the space in a backyard, as part of a house's roof tiling.. it can be put up at your convenience. A PV system is also cost-effective. Its size is determined based on the required power output.
You can expand and decrease the size of the system, based on your needs. The installation costs are expensive but once set up, maintenance and upkeep costs are minimal. There is no need for yearly or monthly setting up or configuration.
PV systems are also durable and sturdy. So, replacing or repairing parts and checkups are not needed. The advantage here is operating costs are negligent or nil, power generation is good, so the initial installation cost is accounted for.
IV. Clean, Green Power
Examine solar photovoltaic energy from all possible angles, production, functioning and impact. No gases or chemicals or smoke or debris or even noise - in short nothing is produced as a by-product from a PV system. The environment remains unaffected. No harmful by-products means no pollution. And a silent means of generating power.
During production of a solar panel, some by-products and emissions do occur. But no product has a pollution free production process and in the long run, compare the production of a solar cell and that of refining coal or petroleum and their respective impact on the environment.
PV systems use natural light, an inexhaustible source of energy. Unlike other resources, the more we use does not alter the quantity or quality of the resource.
No emissions means no carbon dioxide emissions, so by using a PV system to generate power, your carbon footprint is greatly reduced. A home with an installed PV system used to generate power can cut down on carbon emission by approximately 1 ton! So on the whole, the solar photovoltaic systems are a green way to generate power.
V. Durable and Capable Energy Source
The solar panels used in a PV system require natural sunlight, so even in cloudy days, they can generate power. But its quantity is lessened. Some PV systems support battery usage, so you can store power on sunny days of maximum production and use this on a cloudy day. This feature of solar photovoltaic energy allows you to save power for a rainy day!
The environment is all around us, sustaining and nurturing us throughout our lives, yet we seem to be doing nothing but harm to it. Every small step is a still a step in the right direction, especially when it is dually advantageous, for humans and the Earth.
From the given listed advantages, this power generating way is a renewable, effective and very green way to generate power and hence using it over traditional power generation methods, is a smart choice.