Photovoltaics (PV) 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. Solar panels are used to produce hot water or even steam.
Photovoltaic panels convert the sunlight directly into electricity. A typical example of a device powered by photovoltaic cells is a solar powered calculator.
This type of device only needs a small amount of electrical power to work and can even be used in a room with artificial light (bulbs / fluorescent light). Solar photovoltaics have long been accepted to be a sustainable energy source.
By the end of 2011 a total of 67.4 GW have been installed, sufficient to generate 85 TWh/year. Solar photovoltaics is now, after hydro and wind power, the third most important renewable energy source in terms of globally installed capacity.
More than 100 countries use solar PV. Installations may be ground-mounted (and sometimes integrated with tillage and grassland systems) or built into the roof or walls of a building (either building-integrated photovoltaics or simply rooftop).
The electricity generated by your solar power system is free, clean, sustainable and reliable. It will help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases – a major contributor to global climate change.
A massive benefit of generating your own electricity is that it is possible to get paid for the electricity that you do not use by feed-in-tariffs.