Photovoltaic solar panels absorb sunlight as a source of energy to generate electricity. A photovoltaic (PV) module is a packaged, connected assembly of typically 6x10 photovoltaic solar cells. Photovoltaic modules constitute the photovoltaic array of a photovoltaic system that generates and supplies solar electricity in commercial and residential applications.
|Solar PV modules (top) and two solar hot water panels (bottom) mounted on rooftops|
Photovoltaic modules use light energy (photons) from the Sun to generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect. The majority of modules use wafer-based crystalline silicon cells or thin-film cells. The structural (load carrying) member of a module can either be the top layer or the back layer. Cells must also be protected from mechanical damage and moisture. Most modules are rigid, but semi-flexible ones based on thin-film cells are also available. The cells must be connected electrically in series, one to another.
A PV junction box is attached to the back of the solar panel and it is its output interface.Externally, most of photovoltaic modules use MC4 connectors type to facilitate easy weatherproof connections to the rest of the system. Also, USB power interface can be used.
Module electrical connections are made in series to achieve a desired output voltage or in parallel to provide a desired current capability (amperes). The conducting wires that take the current off the modules may contain silver, copper or other non-magnetic conductive transition metals. Bypass diodes may be incorporated or used externally, in case of partial module shading, to maximize the output of module sections still illuminated.
Some special solar PV modules include concentrators in which light is focused by lenses or mirrors onto smaller cells. This enables the use of cells with a high cost per unit area (such as gallium arsenide) in a cost-effective way.
Solar panels also use metal frames consisting of racking components, brackets, reflector shapes, and troughs to better support the panel structure.
In 1839, the ability of some materials to create an electrical charge from light exposure was first observed by Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel. Though the premiere solar panels were too inefficient for even simple electric devices they were used as an instrument to measure light. The observation by Becquerel was not replicated again until 1873, when Willoughby Smith discovered that the charge could be caused by light hitting selenium. After this discovery, William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day published "The action of light on selenium" in 1876, describing the experiment they used to replicate Smith's results. In 1881, Charles Fritts created the first commercial solar panel, which was reported by Fritts as "continuous, constant and of considerable force not only by exposure to sunlight but also to dim, diffused daylight." However, these solar panels were very inefficient, especially compared to coal-fired power plants. In 1939, Russell Ohl created the solar cell design that is used in many modern solar panels. He patented his design in 1941. In 1954, this design was first used by Bell Labs to create the first commercially viable silicon solar cell.
Each module is rated by its DC output power under standard test conditions (STC), and typically ranges from 100 to 365 Watts (W). The efficiency of a module determines the area of a module given the same rated output – an 8% efficient 230 W module will have twice the area of a 16% efficient 230 W module. There are a few commercially available solar modules that exceed efficiency of 24% 
Depending on construction, photovoltaic modules can produce electricity from a range of frequencies of light, but usually cannot cover the entire solar range (specifically, ultraviolet, infrared and low or diffused light). Hence, much of the incident sunlight energy is wasted by solar modules, and they can give far higher efficiencies if illuminated with monochromatic light. Therefore, another design concept is to split the light into six to eight different wavelength ranges that will produce a different color of light, and direct the beams onto different cells tuned to those ranges. This has been projected to be capable of raising efficiency by 50%.
A single solar module can produce only a limited amount of power; most installations contain multiple modules. A photovoltaic system typically includes an array of photovoltaic modules, an inverter, a battery pack for storage, interconnection wiring, and optionally a solar tracking mechanism.
Scientists from Spectrolab, a subsidiary of Boeing, have reported development of multi-junction solar cells with an efficiency of more than 40%, a new world record for solar photovoltaic cells. The Spectrolab scientists also predict that concentrator solar cells could achieve efficiencies of more than 45% or even 50% in the future, with theoretical efficiencies being about 58% in cells with more than three junctions.
Currently, the best achieved sunlight conversion rate (solar module efficiency) is around 21.5% in new commercial products typically lower than the efficiencies of their cells in isolation. The most efficient mass-produced solar modules have power density values of up to 175 W/m2 (16.22 W/ft2).
Research by Imperial College, London has shown that the efficiency of a solar panel can be improved by studding the light-receiving semiconductor surface with aluminum nanocylinders similar to the ridges on Lego blocks. The scattered light then travels along a longer path in the semiconductor which means that more photons can be absorbed and converted into current. Although these nanocylinders have been used previously (aluminum was preceded by gold and silver), the light scattering occurred in the near infrared region and visible light was absorbed strongly. Aluminum was found to have absorbed the ultraviolet part of the spectrum, while the visible and near infrared parts of the spectrum were found to be scattered by the aluminum surface. This, the research argued, could bring down the cost significantly and improve the efficiency as aluminum is more abundant and less costly than gold and silver. The research also noted that the increase in current makes thinner film solar panels technically feasible without "compromising power conversion efficiencies, thus reducing material consumption".
Micro-inverted solar panels are wired in parallel, which produces more output than normal panels which are wired in series with the output of the series determined by the lowest performing panel (this is known as the "Christmas light effect"). Micro-inverters work independently so each panel contributes its maximum possible output given the available sunlight.
Most solar modules are currently produced from crystalline silicon (c-Si) solar cells made of multicrystalline and monocrystalline silicon. In 2013, crystalline silicon accounted for more than 90 percent of worldwide PV production, while the rest of the overall market is made up of thin-film technologies using cadmium telluride, CIGS and amorphous silicon
Emerging, third generation solar technologies use advanced thin-film cells. They produce a relatively high-efficiency conversion for the low cost compared to other solar technologies. Also, high-cost, high-efficiency, and close-packed rectangular multi-junction (MJ) cells are preferably used in solar panels on spacecraft, as they offer the highest ratio of generated power per kilogram lifted into space. MJ-cells are compound semiconductors and made of gallium arsenide (GaAs) and other semiconductor materials. Another emerging PV technology using MJ-cells is concentrator photovoltaics ( CPV ).
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, usually another sheet of glass. The main cell technologies in this category are CdTe, or a-Si, or a-Si+uc-Si tandem, or CIGS (or variant). Amorphous silicon has a sunlight conversion rate of 6–12%
Flexible thin film cells and modules are created on the same production line by depositing the photoactive layer and other necessary layers on a flexible substrate. If the substrate is an insulator (e.g. polyester or polyimide film) then monolithic 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 on the front side (typically ETFE or FEP) and a polymer suitable for bonding to the final substrate on the other side.
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 optimizers, 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 module causes the electrical output of one or more strings of cells in the module to fall to zero, but not having the output of the entire module fall to zero.
Electrical characteristics include nominal power (PMAX, measured in W), open circuit voltage (VOC), short circuit current (ISC, measured in amperes), maximum power voltage (VMPP), maximum power current (IMPP), peak power, (watt-peak, Wp), 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 modules were only used to charge batteries. The actual voltage output of the module changes as lighting, temperature and load conditions change, so there is never one specific voltage at which the module operates. Nominal voltage allows users, at a glance, to make sure the module is compatible with a given system.
Open circuit voltage or VOC is the maximum voltage that the module can produce when not connected to an electrical circuit or system. VOC can be measured with a voltmeter directly on an illuminated module's terminals or on its disconnected cable.
The peak power rating, Wp, is the maximum output under standard test conditions (not the maximum possible output). Typical modules, which could measure approximately 1 m × 2 m or 3 ft 3 in × 6 ft 7 in, will be rated from as low as 75 W to as high as 350 W, depending on their efficiency. At the time of testing, the test modules are binned according to their test results, and a typical manufacturer might rate their modules in 5 W increments, and either rate them at +/- 3%, +/-5%, +3/-0% or +5/-0%.
The ability of solar modules to withstand damage by rain, hail, heavy snow load, and cycles of heat and cold varies by manufacturer, although most solar panels on the U.S. market are UL listed, meaning they have gone through testing to withstand hail. Many crystalline silicon module manufacturers offer a limited warranty that guarantees electrical production for 10 years at 90% of rated power output and 25 years at 80%.
Potential induced degradation (also called PID) is a potential induced performance degradation in crystalline photovoltaic modules, caused by so-called stray currents. This effect may cause power loss of up to 30%.
The largest challenge for photovoltaic technology is said to be the purchase price per watt of electricity produced, new materials and manufacturing techniques continue to improve the price to power performance. The problem resides in the enormous activation energy that must be overcome for a photon to excite an electron for harvesting purposes. Advancements in photovoltaic technologies have brought about the process of "doping" the silicon substrate to lower the activation energy thereby making the panel more efficient in converting photons to retrievable electrons.
Chemicals such as Boron (p-type) are applied into the semiconductor crystal in order to create donor and acceptor energy levels substantially closer to the valence and conductor bands. In doing so, the addition of Boron impurity allows the activation energy to decrease 20 fold from 1.12 eV to 0.05 eV. Since the potential difference (EB) is so low, the Boron is able to thermally ionize at room temperatures. This allows for free energy carriers in the conduction and valence bands thereby allowing greater conversion of photons to electrons.
Solar panel conversion efficiency, typically in the 20% range, is reduced by dust, grime, pollen, and other particulates that accumulate on the solar panel. "A dirty solar panel can reduce its power capabilities by up to 30% in high dust/pollen or desert areas", says Seamus Curran, associate professor of physics at the University of Houston and director of the Institute for NanoEnergy, which specializes in the design, engineering, and assembly of nanostructures.
Paying to have solar panels cleaned is often not a good investment; researchers found panels that had not been cleaned, or rained on, for 145 days during a summer drought in California, lost only 7.4% of their efficiency. Overall, for a typical residential solar system of 5 kW, washing panels halfway through the summer would translate into a mere $20 gain in electricity production until the summer drought ends—in about 2 ½ months. For larger commercial rooftop systems, the financial losses are bigger but still rarely enough to warrant the cost of washing the panels. On average, panels lost a little less than 0.05% of their overall efficiency per day.
Most parts of a solar module can be recycled including up to 95% of certain semiconductor materials or the glass as well as large amounts of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Some private companies and non-profit organizations are currently engaged in take-back and recycling operations for end-of-life modules.
Recycling possibilities depend on the kind of technology used in the modules:
|Top Module Producer||Shipments in 2014 (MW)|
In 2010, 15.9 GW of solar PV system installations were completed, 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 modules in 2010. They actively expanded their capacity and turned themselves into gigawatt GW 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.
The basis of producing solar panels revolves around the use of silicon cells. These silicon cells are typically 10-20% efficient at converting sunlight into electricity, with newer production models now exceeding 22%. In order for solar panels to become more efficient, researchers across the world have been trying to develop new technologies to make solar panels more effective at turning sunlight into energy.
The price of solar electrical power has continued to fall so that in many countries it has become cheaper than ordinary fossil fuel electricity from the electricity grid since 2012, a phenomenon known as grid parity.
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 there is clearly a systematic reduction in the price of cells and modules. For example, in 2012 it was estimated that the quantity cost per watt was about US$0.60, which was 250 times lower than the cost in 1970 of US$150. A 2015 study shows price/kWh dropping by 10% per year since 1980, and predicts that solar could contribute 20% of total electricity consumption by 2030, whereas the International Energy Agency predicts 16% by 2050.
Real world energy production costs depend a great deal on local weather conditions. In a cloudy country such as the United Kingdom, the cost per produced kWh is higher than in sunnier countries like Spain.
According to .S. Energy Information Administration, prices per megawatthour are expected to converge and reach parity with conventional energy production sources during the period 2020-2030. According to EIA, the parity can be achieved without need for subsidy support and can be accomplished through organic market mechanisms, namely production price reduction and an technological advancement.
Following to RMI, Balance-of-System (BoS) elements, this is, non-module cost of non-microinverter solar modules (as wiring, converters, racking systems and various components) make up about half of the total costs of installations.
For merchant solar power stations, where the electricity is being sold into the electricity transmission network, the cost of solar energy will need to match the wholesale electricity price. This point is sometimes called 'wholesale grid parity' or 'busbar parity'.
Some photovoltaic systems, such as rooftop installations, can supply power directly to an electricity user. In these cases, the installation can be competitive when the output cost matches the price at which the user pays for his electricity consumption. This situation is sometimes called 'retail grid parity', 'socket parity' or 'dynamic grid parity'. Research carried out by UN-Energy in 2012 suggests areas of sunny countries with high electricity prices, such as Italy, Spain and Australia, and areas using diesel generators, have reached retail grid parity.
Ground-mounted photovoltaic systems are usually large, utility-scale solar power plants. Their solar modules are held in place by racks or frames that are attached to ground-based mounting supports. Ground based mounting supports include:
Roof-mounted solar power systems consist of solar modules held in place by racks or frames attached to roof-based mounting supports. Roof-based mounting supports include:
Solar trackers increase the amount of energy produced per module at a cost of mechanical complexity and need for maintenance. They sense the direction of the Sun and tilt or rotate the modules as needed for maximum exposure to the light. Alternatively, fixed racks hold modules stationary as the sun moves across the sky. The fixed rack sets the angle at which the module is held. Tilt angles equivalent to an installation's latitude are common. Most of these fixed racks are set on poles above ground. Panels that face West or East may provide slightly lower energy, but evens out the supply, and may provide more power during peak demand.
Standards generally used in photovoltaic modules:
Outdoor solar panels usually includes MC4 connectors. Automotive solar panels also can include car lighter and USB adapter. Indoor panels (including solar pv glasses, thin films and windows) can integrate microinverter (AC Solar panels).
There are many practical applications for the use of solar panels or photovoltaics. It can first be used in agriculture as a power source for irrigation. In health care solar panels can be used to refrigerate medical supplies. It can also be used for infrastructure. PV modules are used in photovoltaic systems and include a large variety of electric devices:
Solar panel has been a well-known method of generating clean, emission free electricity. However, it produces only direct current electricity (DC), which is not what normal appliances use. Solar photovoltaic systems (solar PV systems) are often made of solar PV panels (modules) and inverter (changing DC to AC). Solar PV panels are mainly made of solar photovoltaic cells, which has no fundamental difference to the material for making computer chips. The process of producing solar PV cells (computer chips) is energy intensive and involves highly poisonous and environmental toxic chemicals. There are few solar PV manufacturing plants around the world producing PV modules with energy produced from PV. This measure greatly reduces the carbon footprint during the manufacturing process. Managing the chemicals used in the manufacturing process is subject to the factories' local laws and regulations.
With the increasing levels of rooftop photovoltaic systems, the energy flow becomes 2-way. When there is more local generation than consumption, electricity is exported to the grid. However, electricity network traditionally is not designed to deal with the 2- way energy transfer. Therefore, some technical issues may occur. For example in Queensland Australia, there have been more than 30% of households with rooftop PV by the end of 2017. The famous Californian 2020 duck curve appears very often for a lot of communities from 2015 onwards. An over-voltage issue may come out as the electricity flows from these PV households back to the network. There are solutions to manage the over voltage issue, such as regulating PV inverter power factor, new voltage and energy control equipment at electricity distributor level, re-conducting the electricity wires, demand side management, etc. There are often limitations and costs related to these solutions.
There is no silver bullet in electricity or energy demand and bill management, because customers (sites) have different specific situations, e.g. different comfort/convenience needs, different electricity tariffs, or different usage patterns. Electricity tariff may have a few elements, such as daily access and metering charge, energy charge (based on kWh, MWh) or peak demand charge (e.g. a price for the highest 30min energy consumption in a month). PV is a promising option for reducing energy charge when electricity price is reasonably high and continuously increasing, such as in Australia and Germany. However for sites with peak demand charge in place, PV may be less attractive if peak demands mostly occur in the late afternoon to early evening, for example residential communities. Overall, energy investment is largely an economical decision and it is better to make investment decisions based on systematical evaluation of options in operational improvement, energy efficiency, onsite generation and energy storage.
A new solar cell configuration developed by engineers at the University of New South Wales has pushed sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency to 34.5% -- establishing a new world record for unfocused sunlight and nudging closer to the theoretical limits for such a device.
The 2013 Kerala solar panel scam occurred in 2013, when a solar energy company, Team Solar, in Kerala, India, used two women to create political contacts with links even to the Chief Minister's office, duped several influential people to the tune of 70 lakhs , by offering to make them business partners, or by offering to install solar power units for them, and receiving advance payments for the same. Team Solar was unsuccessful in lobbying Kerala Govt to get include in ANERT programmes.ADEOS I
ADEOS I (Advanced Earth Observing Satellite 1) was an Earth observation satellite launched by NASDA in 1996. The mission's Japanese name, Midori, means "green".The mission ended in July 1997 after the satellite sustained structural damage to the solar panel array. Its successor, ADEOS II, was launched in 2002. Like the first mission, it ended after less than a year – also following solar panel malfunctions.Automatic weather station
An automatic weather station (AWS) is an automated version of the traditional weather station, either to save human labour or to enable measurements from remote areas. An AWS will typically consist of a weather-proof enclosure containing the data logger, rechargeable battery, telemetry (optional) and the meteorological sensors with an attached solar panel or wind turbine and mounted upon a mast. The specific configuration may vary due to the purpose of the system. The system may report in near real time via the Argos System and the Global Telecommunications System, or save the data for later recovery.In the past, automatic weather stations were often placed where electricity and communication lines were available. Nowadays, the solar panel, wind turbine and mobile phone technology have made it possible to have wireless stations that are not connected to the electrical grid or hardline telecommunications network.Edison Electric Institute
The Edison Electric Institute is the association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies.
Its members provide electricity for 220 million Americans, operate in 50 states and the District of Columbia, and directly employ more than one million workers.EEI has 70 international electric companies as Affiliate Members, and 250 industry suppliers and related organizations as Associate Members.Flexible solar cell research
Flexible solar cell research is a research-level technology, an example of which was created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in which solar cells are manufactured by depositing photovoltaic material on flexible substrates, such as ordinary paper, using chemical vapor deposition technology. The technology for manufacturing solar cells on paper was developed by a group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with support from the National Science Foundation and the Eni-MIT Alliance Solar Frontiers Program.List of photovoltaics companies
This is a list of notable photovoltaics (PV) companies.
Grid-connected solar photovoltaics (PV) is the fastest growing energy technology in the world, growing from a cumulative installed capacity of 7.7 GW in 2007, to 320 GW in 2016. In 2016, 93% of the global PV cell manufacturing capacity utilizes crystalline silicon (cSi) technology, representing a commanding lead over rival forms of PV technology, such as cadmium telluride (CdTe), amorphous silicon (aSi), and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS). In 2016, manufacturers in China and Taiwan met the majority of global PV module demand, accounting for 68% of all modules, followed by the rest of Asia at 14%. The United States and Canada manufactured 6%, and Europe manufactured a mere 4%.Photovoltaics companies include PV capital equipment producers, cell manufacturers, panel manufacturers and installers. The list does not include silicon manufacturing companies.Samsung E1107
The Samsung E1107 (also known as Crest Solar or Solar Guru) is a mobile phone designed for a rural lower budget market. It was first released in India on July 10 2009 with an initial price of ₹2,799.Solar-powered fountain
A Solar powered fountain is a decorative electrical fountain powered by a solar panel. The solar panel either forms a part of the fountain, or is separately mounted.Solar-powered watch
A solar-powered watch or light-powered watch is a watch that is powered entirely or partly by a solar cell.
Some of the early solar watches of the 1970s had innovative and unique designs to accommodate the array of photovoltaic solar cells needed to power them (Synchronar, Nepro, Sicura and some models by Cristalonic, Alba, Rhythm, Seiko and Citizen). In the 1990s, Citizen started to sell light-powered watches under the Eco-Drive series name. Since their introduction, photovoltaic devices have greatly improved their efficiency and thereby their capacity. Watchmakers have developed their technology such that solar-powered watches are now a major part of their range of watches. Several other watch manufacturers offer similar watches or are developing such technology. These other watch manufacturers include (amongst others) Junghans, Casio, Seiko, and Orient.
Typically, sunlight and artificial light are absorbed by a solar panel behind the crystal. The dial is either on a layer above or actually on the solar panel. This solar panel converts the light into electrical energy to power the watch. The watch will usually store energy in a rechargeable cell to power itself during the night or when covered such as a wearer's clothing (e.g., sleeve). Citizen's watches use lithium-ion batteries to store sufficient energy to power the watch for several months/years without light exposure, by allowing the watch to enter a power-saving or hibernation mode during which the seconds hand stops until the watch is re-exposed to light. Not all have a power-save mode, yet will still hold a charge for typically six months, as with uncomplicated (date only) analog versions made by Citizen.
Inexpensive solar-powered watches were first sold in the 1980s and were popular amongst children, often featuring famous fictional characters such as Transformers or G.I. Joe.Solar Tuki
A solar tuki is a rechargeable solar lighting system that is being implemented in Nepal to replace kerosene lamps commonly used by villagers. It includes two lamps that have white LED lights powered by an individual solar panel. In 2004, Engineers Anil Chitrakar and Babu Raj Shrestha collaborated with their respective organizations, Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness and Centre for Renewable Energy, to produce, distribute, and further the development of the solar tuki in Nepal. Their organizations sell the solar tuki systems, including solar panel, for $28 U.S. dollars, and the individual lamp is sold for $11.Solar cell
A solar cell, or photovoltaic cell, is an electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect, which is a physical and chemical phenomenon. It is a form of photoelectric cell, defined as a device whose electrical characteristics, such as current, voltage, or resistance, vary when exposed to light. Individual solar cell devices can be combined to form modules, otherwise known as solar panels. In basic terms a single junction silicon solar cell can produce a maximum open-circuit voltage of approximately 0.5 to 0.6 volts.Solar cells are described as being photovoltaic, irrespective of whether the source is sunlight or an artificial light. They are used as a photodetector (for example infrared detectors), detecting light or other electromagnetic radiation near the visible range, or measuring light intensity.
The operation of a photovoltaic (PV) cell requires three basic attributes:
The absorption of light, generating either electron-hole pairs or excitons.
The separation of charge carriers of opposite types.
The separate extraction of those carriers to an external circuit.In contrast, a solar thermal collector supplies heat by absorbing sunlight, for the purpose of either direct heating or indirect electrical power generation from heat. A "photoelectrolytic cell" (photoelectrochemical cell), on the other hand, refers either to a type of photovoltaic cell (like that developed by Edmond Becquerel and modern dye-sensitized solar cells), or to a device that splits water directly into hydrogen and oxygen using only solar illumination.Solar cooker
A solar cooker is a device which uses the energy of direct sunlight to heat, cook or pasteurize drink and other food materials. Many solar cookers currently in use are relatively inexpensive, low-tech devices, although some are as powerful or as expensive as traditional stoves, and advanced, large-scale solar cookers can cook for hundreds of people. Because they use no fuel and cost nothing to operate, many nonprofit organizations are promoting their use worldwide in order to help reduce fuel costs (especially where monetary reciprocity is low) and air pollution, and to slow down the deforestation and desertification caused by gathering firewood for cooking.Solar notebook
A solar notebook or solar laptop is a laptop computer with batteries that are recharged by a solar panel attached to the notebook.Solar power in China
China is the world's largest market for both photovoltaics and solar thermal energy.
Since 2013 China has been the world's leading installer of solar photovoltaics (PV).
In 2015, China became the world's largest producer of photovoltaic power, narrowly surpassing Germany.
In 2017 China was the first country to pass 100 GW of cumulative installed PV capacity, and by the end of 2018, it had 174 GW of cumulative installed solar capacity. As of May 2018, China holds the record for largest operational solar project in its 1,547-MW project at Tengger.
The contribution to the total electric energy production remains modest as the average capacity factor of solar power plants is relatively low at 17% on average.
Of the 6,412 TWh electricity produced in China in 2017, 118.2 TWh was generated by solar power, equivalent to 1.84% of total electricity production.
The goal for 2050 is to reach 1,300 GW of solar capacity.
If this goal is to be reached it would be the source with the largest installed capacity in China.Solar water heating is also extensively implemented, with a total installed capacity of 290 GWth at the end of 2014, representing about 70% of world's total installed solar thermal capacity.Solar street light
Solar street lights are raised light sources which are powered by solar panels generally mounted on the lighting structure or integrated in the pole itself. The solar panels charge a rechargeable battery, which powers a fluorescent or LED lamp during the night.Solar vehicle
A solar vehicle is an electric vehicle powered completely or significantly by direct solar energy. Usually, photovoltaic (PV) 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 of a vehicle's propulsion. Solar power may be also used to provide power for communications or controls or other auxiliary functions.
Solar vehicles are not sold as practical day-to-day transportation devices at present, but are primarily demonstration vehicles and engineering exercises, often sponsored by government agencies. However, indirectly solar-charged vehicles are widespread and solar boats are available commercially.Soyuz TM-27
Soyuz TM-27 is a Russian spacecraft that ferried cosmonauts and supplies to the Mir, the Russian space station. It was the 33rd expedition to Mir. It was launched by a Soyuz-U rocket from Baikonur Cosmodrome on January 29, 1998. The main mission was to exchange one crew member, carry out French mission PEGASE, and conduct routine science experiments.
TM-27 docked with Mir. The crew repaired the Spektr solar panel and installed a new VDU station orientation system.Thin-film solar cell
A thin-film solar cell is a second generation solar cell that is made by depositing one or more thin layers, or thin film (TF) of photovoltaic material on a substrate, such as glass, plastic or metal. Thin-film solar cells are commercially used in several technologies, including cadmium telluride (CdTe), copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS), and amorphous thin-film silicon (a-Si, TF-Si).
Film thickness varies from a few nanometers (nm) to tens of micrometers (µm), much thinner than thin-film's rival technology, the conventional, first-generation crystalline silicon solar cell (c-Si), that uses wafers of up to 200 µm thick. This allows thin film cells to be flexible, and lower in weight. It is used in building integrated photovoltaics and as semi-transparent, photovoltaic glazing material that can be laminated onto windows. Other commercial applications use rigid thin film solar panels (sandwiched between two panes of glass) in some of the world's largest photovoltaic power stations.
Thin-film technology has always been cheaper but less efficient than conventional c-Si technology. However, it has significantly improved over the years. The lab cell efficiency for CdTe and CIGS is now beyond 21 percent, outperforming multicrystalline silicon, the dominant material currently used in most solar PV systems. Accelerated life testing of thin film modules under laboratory conditions measured a somewhat faster degradation compared to conventional PV, while a lifetime of 20 years or more is generally expected. Despite these enhancements, market-share of thin-film never reached more than 20 percent in the last two decades and has been declining in recent years to about 9 percent of worldwide photovoltaic installations in 2013.Other thin-film technologies that are still in an early stage of ongoing research or with limited commercial availability are often classified as emerging or third generation photovoltaic cells and include organic, and dye-sensitized, as well as quantum dot, copper zinc tin sulfide, nanocrystal, micromorph, and perovskite solar cells.Trina Solar
Trina Solar Limited (TSL, Chinese: 天合光能有限公司) is a Chinese company located in the province of Jiangsu, with numerous branches in the US, Europe, Asia and Lartin America, which is listed on the PPVX solar share index and on the NYSE. Founded in 1997 by Jifan Gao the company develops and produces ingots, wafers, solar cells and solar modules. In the past few years Trina Solar was listed repeatedly on the Fortune list of the top 100 of the world’s fastest growing companies (in 2011 No.11). Trina Solar has developed a vertically integrated supply chain, from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of modules. The company has shipped solar modules with a total output of 11 GW until the end of 2014. In the financial year of 2014 a total of 3.66 GW have been shipped, making Trina Solar the top PV module supplier globally as IHS reported. Trina Solar surpassed Yingli as the world's biggest solar panel maker.