You are on page 1of 25




GENERAL INTRODUCTION: Photovoltaic (PV) is a technology that converts sunlight directly into electricity. It

was first observed in 1839 by the French scientist Becquerel who detected that when light was directed onto one side of a simple battery cell, the current generated could be increased. In the late 1950s, the space programme provided the impetus for the development of crystalline silicon solar cells; the first commercial production of PV modules for terrestrial applications began in 1953 with the introduction of automated PV production plants. Today, PV systems have an important use in areas remote from an electricity grid where they provide power for water pumping, lighting, vaccine refrigeration, electrified livestock fencing, telecommunications and many other applications. With the global demand to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, PV technology is

also gaining popularity as a mainstream form of electricity generation. Some tens of thousands of systems are currently in use yet this number is insignificant compared to the vast potential that exists for PV as an energy source. Photovoltaic modules provide an independent, reliable electrical power source at the point of use, making it particularly suited to remote locations. PV systems are technically viable and, with the recent reduction in production costs and increase in conversion efficiencies, can be economically feasible for many applications.

All substances, solids, liquids and gases, at temperatures above absolute zero, emit energy in the form of electromagnetic waves. This energy is called radiation. Heat transfer by radiation can be thought of as transport of released from excited atom and travelling on straight paths until they are absorbed or scattered by some other atoms. Heat transfer by radiation is distinguished from the heat transfer by other means; such as conduction and convection, by its velocity of propagation, which, in vacaum, is independent of frequency and has the value of 2.997925 x 108 m/s, and by the fact that no intervening medium is required for its transmission. The radiation which is important to us is that from the sun, the earth and the atmosphere lying within the ultraviolent, visible and infrared spectral regions. Thus, solar energy is the radiant energy produced in the sun as a result of nuclear fusion reactions. Solar photovoltaic field is getting priority in countries like USA, Italy, Japan, England, France, Germany, India, etc. and there is a considerable interest, research effort and funding in this field. This worldwide interest is attributed to a variety of factors such as search for new energy sources due to heavy pressure on conventional fuels, simplicity, cleanliness, and

direct conversion into electricity. Photovoltaic cells generates electromotive force as a result of absorption of ionizing radiation. Figure 1: Array of PV Panels. An array can vary from one or two modules with an output of 10W or less, to a vast bank of several kilowatts or even megawatts. -Flat plate arrays, which are held fixed at a tilted angle and face towards the equator, are most common. The angle of tilt should be approximately equal to the angle of latitude for the site. A steeper angle increases the output in winter; a shallower angle - more output in summer. It should be at least 10 degrees to allow for rain runoff. -Tracking arrays follow the path of the sun during the day and thus theoretically capture more sun. However, the increased complexity and cost of the equipment rarely makes it worthwhile. -Mobile (portable) arrays can be of use if the equipment being operated is required in different locations such as with some lighting systems or small irrigation pumping systems.



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. Sunlight is composed of photons, or particles of solar energy. These photons contain various amounts of energy corresponding to the different wavelengths of the solar spectrum. When photons strike a photovoltaic cell, they may be reflected, pass right through, or be absorbed. Only the absorbed photons provide energy to generate electricity. When enough sunlight (energy) is absorbed by the material (a semiconductor), electrons are dislodged from the material's atoms. Special treatment of the material surface during manufacturing makes the front surface of the cell more receptive to free electrons, so the

electrons naturally migrate to the surface.

When the electrons leave their position, holes are formed. When many electrons, each carrying a negative charge, travel toward the front surface of the cell, the resulting imbalance of charge between the cell's front and back surfaces creates a voltage potential like the negative and positive terminals of a battery. When the two surfaces are connected through an external load, electricity flows.

The photovoltaic cell is the basic building block of a PV system. Individual cells can vary in size from about 1 cm (1/2 inch) to about 10 cm (4 inches) across. However, one cell only produces 1 or 2 watts, which isn't enough power for most applications. To increase power output, cells are electrically connected into a packaged weather-tight module. Modules can be further connected to form an array. The term array refers to the entire generating plant, whether it is made up of one or several thousand modules. As many modules as needed can be connected to form the array size (power output) needed. The performance of a photovoltaic array is dependent upon sunlight. Climate conditions (e.g., clouds, fog) have a significant effect on the amount of solar energy received by a PV array and, in turn, its performance. Most current technology photovoltaic modules are about 10 percent efficient in converting sunlight with further research being conducted to raise this efficiency to 20 percent. 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. The success of PVs in space generated commercial applications for pv technology. The simplest photovoltaic systems power many of the small calculators and wrist watches used everyday. More complicated systems provide electricity to pump water, power communications equipment, and even provide electricity to our homes. Photovoltaic conversion is useful for several reasons. Conversion from sunlight to electricity is direct, so that bulky mechanical generator systems are unnecessary. The modular characteristic of photovoltaic energy allows arrays to be installed quickly and in any size required or allowed.

Also, the environmental impact of a photovoltaic system is minimal, requiring no water for system cooling and generating no by-products. Photovoltaic cells, like batteries, generate direct current (DC), which is generally used for small loads (electronic equipment). When DC from photovoltaic cells is used for commercial applications or sold to electric utilities using the electric grid, it must be converted to alternating current (AC) using inverters, solid-state devices that convert DC power to AC. Historically, pvs have been used at remote sites to provide electricity. However, a market for distributed generation from PVs may be developing with the unbundling of transmission and distribution costs due to electric deregulation. The siting of numerous small-scale generators in electric distribution feeders could improve the economics and reliability of the distribution system.


SOLAR CELLS MATERIALS There are many semiconductor materials which can be used as solar cells. But

some semiconductors perform better (high conversion efficiency) while others do not perform so well. Apart from many materials properties the efficiency of a solar cell is a function of spectral distribution of incident light and the cell temperature. Silicon is the most commonly used commercially, are silicon cells. The electrical properties of silicon depend on the type and amount of dopants. The commonly used dopants in silicon and the criteria for choice of material for photovoltaic cells are given in the table. (a) and (b) below

(a) Dopant

Dopants which are commonly used in silicon Type Energy below the Energy Conduction (ev) Al B Ga As Li Sb P Bi Ag P P P n n n n n n 0.049 0.033 0.039 0.044 0.069 0.330 above the

band valence band (ev) 0.057 0.045 0.065 -

Criteria for choice of material for PV cells Band gap Criteria near 1.4eV of solar to maximize while

Property Band gap of smaller band-gap material



minimizing diode current that limits Voc.

Direct optical absorption. Long minority Band gap of larger band gap material carrier diffusion length. As large as possible while material

maintaining low series, resistance. Conductivity type Smaller band gap material should usually be P type because of longer electron Electron Affinities diffusion length. Materials should be chosen so that no potential spike occurs at the junction for the Diffusion Voltage Lattice Mismatch Deposition Methods Electrical contacts Material availability Material cost Material toxicity Cell stability and lifetime minority photo excited carriers. As large as possible, since the maximum Voc. Is proportional to the diffusion voltage. As little mismatch in lattice constant between the two materials as possible. Suitable deposition methods for thin-film formation and control should be available.. It should be possible to form low-resistance contacts to both n and P type materials. Supplies of the material should be sufficient to allow large area cell production. Cost of material should be competitive with alternative systems Materials should be non-toxic, or control of toxicity should be possible. Cell must have an operating lifetime sufficient to pay back economic and energy costs required to produce it.

CHAPTER TWO 2.0 2.1 BALANCE OF SYSTEM AND PV SYSTEM BALANCE OF SYSTEM (BOS) The components other than the array (a number of solar cell modules connected in series and or parallel) are referred to as the balance-of-system (BOS). These are a

necessary part of the total photovoltaic system. The components are divided into three categories: Structure and installation Power conditioning and control

Storage batteries



STRUCTURE AND INSTALLATION Solar system installation are either roof structure or ground structure. Most of the

domestic installations are on roof trops. There is a large diversity of housing types, construction techniques, environmental conditions, roof type, orientation and material. Further constraints are imposed by building by laws, construction practices and technical skills of construction workers. Size of a typical roof top installation in 1mx2m. The ground structure installation are generally more strong and are designed to with stand vibrations such as earthquakes. The material for these structures is either metal or treated wood. A fence must be built around the photovoltaic system to prevent animals and people from venturing near it. Protection of system from lightening is a must.


Power conditioning and control Solar PV system required various control to maximize the output or arrays and to

protect various electric components from damage. Power conditioner is used to control and regulate the electricity. It is generally consist of a blocking diode; a voltage regulator and an inverter or converter. The blocking diode prevents current from leaking back into the array during non-sunlight hours when the system is not producing power. The voltage regulator maintains a constant voltage across the load and protects the batteries.

Converters: A DC/DC converter changes the D.C. output voltage to a voltage or voltages suited to a battery or load. Modern solid state converters, use transistors and are based on high frequency chopping. The efficiencies are around 95% at full load. The maximum power point tracker (MPPT) a special converter ensures that the array is always operating at its maximum power point for varying solar isolation, ambient temperature or load. A MPPT has built in control logic to keep the array voltage at or near the maximum power point. These are operated by microprocessors for sensing and collecting the array voltage and current at frequent intervals for computing and adjusting the power output.


This is a device for converting D.C. from the array or battery to a single or

there phase A.C. suitable for A.C. loads. The output must meet the necessary requirements of the electricity authority in terms of voltage, frequency and charmonic purity of the waveform for the rigid interactive systems. An additional transformer and special filtering respectively do these. But this leads to additional losses and increase in cost. In stand alone systems, however, the requirements are much less stringent. An inverter for PV systems should have the following in-built-protective features: (i) (ii) (iii) Automatic switch off if the array output voltage is too high or too low. Automatic re-start when the array output voltage is within the desired range. Protection against short circuits and overloading.


Storage Batteries In most stand-alone PV power systems, storage batteries with charge regulators

have to be incorporated to provide a back-up power source during periods of low solar irradiance and night. Several types of accumulator are available in the market for use in Pv power systems. Each type has its own particular characteristics. The main requirements to be met by an accumulator for solar power system are: Ability to withstand several charge/discharge cycles. A low self-discharge rate. Little or no need for maintenance.

The block diagram of a PV power system with battery back up for applications in remote chouses and villages is shown below.


PV SYSTEMS There are three broad categories of PV power systems: stand-alone, grid connected

and solar power satellite. Stand-alone systems are virtually self sufficient are not hooked into the electricity grid, have some back-up system and require no maintenance or regular fuel. In the grid-connected system, load is supplied directly from the PV array when there is sufficient sunlight and by the grid when the sunlight is not enough. These PV systems are discuss below detail.



The solar cell array consist of an appropriate number of solar cell modules connected in the series and or parallel to provide the required current and voltage. The array is so oriented as to collect the maximum solar radiator throughout the year. The power conditioners regulates the output of the array, protects the batteries and provides an interface between the load and the array. Storage batteries provide the back-up power during no-sun shine period by storing the excess power from the arrays. Stand alone systems are applicable generally for providing power to light houses, meteorological stations, radio/T.V. relay stations, remote villages and islands, etc.


Gird-connected System A grid connected photovoltaic power system is connected to the commercial

electric grid. These are generally small and medium size systems 3kW for private residence 20kW for multiple dwellings, 100-200kW for schools and factories. The

operation of such systems is based on the principle of feeding power into the grid when solar generation exceeds load demand (during daytime) and taking power from the grid night. These systems do not require storage of energy but require additional components to regulate voltage, frequency and wave form it meet the stringent requirements of feeding the power into the grid. Figure 5: Common configurations of PV systems Solar Array, Solar array Charge Controller Battery Solar Array Charge Controller Battery Motor Pump DC Load DC/AC Inverter AC Load DC Load (a) System without batteries

(b) System with battery (c) System with battery and inverter




-The use of PV electricity in developing countries -The majority of the worlds developing countries is found within the tropics and hence has ample sources of solar isolation (the total energy per unit area received from the sun). -The tropical regions also benefit from having a small seasonal variation of solar insolation, even during the rainy season, which means that, unlike northern industrial countries, solar energy can be harnessed economically throughout the year. Currently, there is a fairly high

uptake of solar technology in developing countries. The chart Solar Photovoltaic Energy Intermediate Technology Development Group

The first application of solar photovoltaic system was in 1958 to power the space satellite vanguard 1. Since the solar cell remained the chosen power source in space

applications due to their low weight, reliability and durability. Solar cells have survived the harsh physical conditions of space high vacuum high radiation and large temperature variations. Success of solar cells in space led to their terrestrial applications. These are three broad categories for terrestrial PV applications: industrial, social and consumer applications.


Industrial Applications

(a). Telecommunications: In recent years, the power consumption of telecommunication equipments has considerably reduced due to use of solid-state devices. Transmitters and relay stations now consume 50-100W. These stations are after located in remote and difficult to access areas like mountain tops, islands or deserts. PV systems are both economical and reliable power source for them and several such systems are installed throughout the world. Examples are -radio repeaters -remote TV and radio receivers -remote weather measuring -mobile radios -rural telephone kiosks -data acquisition and transmission (for example, river levels and seismographs)

(b). Cathodic protection:

Various metallic structures like pipe lines, well hands,

bridges, etc. are protected from corrosion by cathodic protection system. In this technique a small direct current is impressed on the structure of regular intervals to prevent electrochemical conation. Small PV panels may be used to provide this current very efficiently. a. Navigational aids: Marine beacons and navigational lights on buoys around the

world are now-a-days being powered reliably and cost effectively by simple PV generators, which were either powered by kerosene or batteries with several maintenance problems.


Remote aircraft beacons:

Remote radio and light beacons near the airports may

be powered economically by solar PV. One of the earliest examples of powering light beacons by PV is seven mountain peaks near Medina airport in Saudi Arabia. c. Alarm Systems: PV systems are being used to power railway signal; alarm

systems; fog, fire and flood hazard warnings, traffic lights and highway telephones. d. Automatic meteorological stations: For precise weather forecasting it is necessary to collect meteorological data at fixed time intervals at several locations and then transmit them to a weather station for analysis. Solar powered meteorological stations are reliable, economical, and relatively free of maintenance problems. A large network of such stations helps in predicting accurate weather forecasting. e. Defence equipment; Many defence equipment like mobile telephones, remote instrumentation, remote radar, water purifier, etc. may be effectively powered by PV. f. Emergency equipment: Battery charging on lifeboats and rafts and for

providing essential services after earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters may be done effectively by PV system.


Social Application These include providing electric power to remote villages and islands specially in

developing countries by PV systems where large number of villages remain unconnected to main grid. Electricity is necessary to improve health and education level and for local cottage industry. PV is best suited for rural applications and is environmentally benign. A

small stand-alone type of solar PV power system can provide a rural chouse enough power for lighting, fans, TV and a small refrigerator. PV powered water pumps are being installed to provide potable water and for low consumption irrigation purposes for growing high value crops. A battery is generally not used since it is cheaper and simpler to store water in a reservoir. Solar powered water treatment plants are also in use for purifying water. Another social application of Pv is to power refrigerators at community health centres for keeping vaccine at low temperatures for mass immunization programmes to improve rural health standards and to reduce infant mortality rate. Special Pv powered portable refrigerators are available for transportation and storage of vaccines. Yet another social application of Pv is to provide electricity to TV for schools and community centres for educational and recreational purposes.


Consumer Applications A very large number of consumer items are now being powered by solar PV. The

power used by such apparatus is extremely small and the potential of these applications is very large. Some of these solar powered products are pocket calculators, watches, clocks, torches, lanterns, garden lights, radios, portable fans far cars and houses, battery chargers for boats, electric fences, toys etc. Some Of The Other Application Are As Follow

1.Rural electrification

-Lighting and power supplies for remote building (mosques, churches, temples etc farms, schools, mountain refuge huts) - low wattage fluorescent lighting is recommended -Power supplies for remote villages -Street lighting -Individual house systems -Battery charging -Mini grids 2.Water pumping and treatment systems -Pumping for drinking water -Pumping for irrigation -Dewatering and drainage -Ice production -Saltwater desalination systems -Water purification 3.Health care systems -Lighting in rural clinics -UHF transceivers between health centres -Vaccine refrigeration -Ice pack freezing for vaccine carriers -Sterilizes -Blood storage refrigerators 4. Transport aids -Road sign lighting

-Railway crossings and signals -Hazard and warning lights -Navigation buoys -Road markers 5. Security systems -Security lighting -Remote alarm system -Electric fences 6. Miscellaneous -Ventilation systems -Calculators -Pumping and automated feeding systems on fish farms -Solar water heater circulation pumps -Boat / ship power -Vehicle battery trickle chargers -Earthquake monitoring systems -Emergency power for disaster relief Some benefits of using Photovoltaic -No fuel requirements - In remote areas diesel or kerosene fuel supplies are erratic and often very expensive. The recurrent costs of operating and maintaining PV systems are small. -Modular design - A solar array comprises individual PV modules, which can be connected to meet a particular demand.

-Reliability of PV modules - This has been shown to be significantly higher than that of diesel generators. -Easy to maintain - Operation and routine maintenance requirements are simple. -Long life - With no moving parts and all delicate surfaces protected, modules can be expected to provide power for 15 years or more. -National economic benefits - Reliance on imported fuels such as coal and oil is reduced. -Environmentally benign - There is no pollution through the use of a PV system - nor is there any heat or noise generated which could cause local discomfort. PV systems




CONCLUSION Solar energy is the radiant energy produced in the sun as a result of nuclear fusion

reactions, which transmitted to the earth photons and interests with the earths atmosphere and surface. The devices in which sunlight releases electric charges so as to follow ultimately enough an electric load such as light bulb or a motor are known as solar cells. The phenomenon of producing voltages and currents in this way is known as the photovoltaic cells. This photovoltaic is base on the operation of solar cells, hence they are commonly refers to as PV- cells. Its (PV) production occurs when a junction of two suitable materials

such as metal and a semiconductor or two opposite polarity semiconductor are exposed to electromagnetic radiation. Thus photovoltaic itself has a wide applications in many areas both in the developed and developing countries as follows; industrial, social, health and consumer application with some relevant benefits derived from it (PV).

Resources and references A. Derrick, C. Francis and V. Bokalders: Solar Photovoltaic Products - A development workers. IT Publications and IT Power, 1991. Photovoltaic guide for

A. Cabraal, M. Cosgrave-Davies and L. Schaeffer: Best Practices for Household H.P. Garg, D. Gouri, and R. Gupta: Renewable Energy Technologies. of technology and the British High Commission, 1997.

Indian Institute

S. Karekezi and T. Ranja: Renewable Energy Technologies in Africa. SEI / Zed Books, 1997. T.B. Johansson, H. Kelly, A.K.N. Reddy and R.H. Williams: Renewable Sources for fuels and electricity. Island Press, 1993. J. Twidell and T. Weir: Renewable Energy Resources. E & F.N. Spon,


Energy -


W. Hulscher and P. Fraenkel: The Power Guide An international catalogue of smallscale energy equipment. ITDG Publishing, 1994. J.P. Louineau, M. Dicko, P. Fraenkel, R. Barlow and V. Bokalders: Rural Lighting A

guide for development workers. IT Publications and The Stockholm Environment Institute, 1994. S. Roberts: Solar Electricity A practical guide to designing and systems. Prentice Hall, 1991. G. Foley: Photovoltaic Applications in Rural Areas of the Developing Bank, 1995. Electrification Programs. World Bank, 1996. World. World installing photovoltaic