Solar Photovoltaic Energy

transparent solar cells

Researchers from different institutions in the world are looking for ways to solve energy problems. Researchers from MIT have come up with a technology that uses transparent solar cells to convert solar energy into electricity. This is through the conversion of ultraviolet light and infrared light. Visible light will pass through unimpeded and using this method, the scientists deposited coatings of solar cells on various materials that are used to run electronic displays. It is estimated that using coated windows on skyscrapers could provide more than a quarter of the building’s energy needs without altering the look of the structure. Studies are underway to determine how to integrate the solar cells into transparent materials. Given the difficulty in deploying different methods, this new technology could offer a new avenue in energy creation.

Transparent solar cells would change solar radiation and the use of conventional silicon panels. With this material, you could install on windows and nobody will know that it is in place. The see-through solar panels present a new dimension in solar energy and most researchers feel that this could help reduce the overall cost of producing silicon-based solar panels. When you begin with opaque materials, you have to decrease the amount of active materials so that you can achieve transparency. Using a prototype from the company, there is a total transparency of the novel cells. During the making of the cells, researchers were looking at creating a solar cell that could absorb all energy from the sun and at the same time allow us to see. All light is made up of electromagnetic radiation with different wavelengths and it could achieve its full potential if it is absorbed by the solar cells. The human eye can detect part of the spectrum which is visible light. With the right materials and technology in place, the light that the eyes detect could pass through the solar cells and the rest would be absorbed and be converted into electricity.

Inspired by previous scientific research, a team from MIT developed transparent solar cells. The schematic representation of the photovoltaic cells has all the components that could aid in the conversion of solar radiation into electricity in the matrix. In this context, a glass or plastic material is coating with multiple layers of photovoltaic materials. At the core are two active layers which have absorptive semiconductor materials which interact with sunlight and givign rise to an electric field and causing current to flow. When these two layers are sandwiched, it results in an electron transfer and this is an effective process as it generates electrical energy. Both electrodes must be transparent and they  a reflective material is used on the back of the cell. In essence, the reflective material will send the light back through to the layers. Anti-coatings can be utilized on both outside surfaces to prevent any light from being refracted. The technology utilizes molecular engineering, device optimization and optical design.

What Is A Transparent Solar Cell?

The key components of non-transparent photovoltaic material allow visible light to pass through and capture near infrared and ultraviolet rays. At the core of the coatings are active layers which absorb near infrared and ultraviolet light. These cause current to flow through the two transparent electrodes and to an external circuit. The reflector sends the near infrared light and ultraviolet light back to the active layers. The anti-reflective coatings on the outside surfaces optimize incoming light by cutting out any kind of reflection. Researchers have measured solar cells by examining their absorptive response and comparing them with conventional solar cell. The results showed that the conventional cell absorbs high visible part of the spectrum while transparent cells absorbed near infrared rays and ultraviolet parts of the spectrum.

Spectral Response of Transparent and Conventional PV Cells

The solar cell  captures important parts of the sunlight which is converted to electricity. Researchers do not let visible photons of light to pass through by allowing them to efficiently light the room. On the other hand, the plate captures near infrared and ultraviolet rays which are then converted to sunlight. Current transparent solar panels transmit more than 80% of visible light and this is within range of a tinted glass used in buildings. The power conversion efficiency of the material is quite low at 2%. Increasing the efficiency of transparent solar materials is a challenging task which scientists are still exploring. Stacking several layers of transparent photons could increase efficiency of the panel up to 16% while still maintaining the ability to transmit light. It has been demonstrated that an array of transparent cells in integrated series could power a liquid crystal clock which can just rely on ambient light.

A key aspect in transparent solar system is longevity. In large-scale applications like window coatings, solar cells continue to perform very well. Making transparent solar materials continue to be an important component in extending the longevity of the products. Engineering problems could be solved in the next few years.

Transparent Solar Cells Costs and Benefits

The cost of implementing a technology varies on application, solar efficiency and other important applications that could help improve solar efficiency. Introduction of new capital ventures and modern techniques of combating stagnation prove to be effective in enhancing the efficiency of transparent solar panels. The photovoltaic cells are environmentally friendly and there is more data to back up the efficiency of the system. It is imperative to note that the transparent photovoltaic system could be laid on all types of surfaces. One major benefit of this is that it could be included in any transparent material and this could lower costs of fabricating the systems.

Conventional solar panel system require installation. However, transparent solar panels do not require any installation. During window replacement or placement of new windows in a building, the coating is added at a very low cost and this is beneficial in that it will significantly lower the cost of production and installation. The photovoltaic encapsulation layer between the panels is well protected from weather and other external factors that could affect its integrity and functionality. It is important to note that the costs of glass framing and installation are all included on the initial cost of the project without the photovoltaic coating. When using a conventional solar panel system, installation and other costs usually account for nearly two-third of the cost. Distributing the energy through photovoltaic-equipped windows is simple as placing a wire connection and each windows carries energy in a series, adding up all energy to induce a positive effect.

The benefits accruing from adding the solar cells should be significant as the windows capture sunlight directly. In one analysis, research showed that if the windows had transparent a solar system, it could power the skyscraper’s energy needs by a quarter. In addition, the solar cells would block infrared radiation which is known to increase room temperature. This feature is beneficial in that it could cut the costs of air conditioning and could further reduce energy and operating costs of the building. This would be possible without moving a single block or evacuating occupants from their offices. The technology could be commercialized and developmental work is underway to improve the efficiency of the solar panels. Since the PVs are environmentally friendly, it could help enhance the overall functionality of different devices.

There is a possibility of incorporating transparent solar cells into consumer products to reduce the total energy used. Within a short period, there is a high chance that it could help enhance the overall functionality of various devices while reducing overall costs. Mobile electronic devices and other small gadgets could be used to gather energy and provide efficiency, convenience, freedom and better user experience since the device will be powered throughout the process. The most important part of the process is to develope modern devices that could help capture and harness energy in the right manner.  There is a more efficient and better way of harnessing solar energy that could help reduce overall costs of operation. Scaling up operations to make transparent solar system is of great importance.

 

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The use of electronic devices indoors and outdoors continues to grow. This leads to the demand of portable power solutions to recharge the devices. Solar panel charger is a solution that will help power up the devices. Portable solar panels have become a preferred choice among users. Understanding the power supply chain will be beneficial in choosing the right solar panel charger. To recharge your electric devices, you need portable batteries and a portable solar panel charger. Solar energy is one of the most common off-the-grid sources of power. Solar energy is a renewable and a clean source of energy which you can utilize to recharge your devices.

Solar Panel Charger

Solar Panel Charger

There are numerous solar panel designs available in the market – panels only, panels with independent storage batteries and panels with integrated storage batteries. Understanding the technical terms associated with solar panels and solar panel chargers is vital in finding the ultimate solution. Amperage is the electrical power that the solar panel supplies to the battery pack. Watts is a common unit of measurement and you should be able to understand the concept of electrical power. If you want to charge items, then it is imperative to note that the wattage of the panels. If you buy a low wattage panel, then you will end up charging multiple devices for a longer time and this is expensive. There are features that you should consider when looking for a solar panel charger.

Output Power

The output power of the solar panel charger is an important feature. It is essential that you match the needs of your devices by obtaining a solar panel charger of high quality. Some manufacturers are known to report total amperages of the total ports combined while others report amperage for only one port.

Types of Portable Panels

CIGS

Copper indium gallidium selenide panels are flexible panels. They are very effective in converting sunlight into electricity. They are some of the most flexible solar panels in the market and it is vital to note that CIGS  could degrade quickly because it is very flexible.

Monocystalline

Monocystalline solar panel refers to solar panels that are manufactured using silicon components that are more efficient in generating power with an efficiency of up to 22% . This is one of the highest efficiency rate in the solar panel industry.

Polycrystalline

Polycrystalline panels are bluish in color as the monocystalline panels have a black color. The performance of the solar panel chargers vary greatly and it is imperative to note that the silicon could affect the efficiency of the solar panel system to a huge extent.

External Battery vs. Solar Chargers

In most cases, you could use a battery that is bigger than your device battery and use it to charge you devices. You can take home a battery that could power up all your devices. External batteries offer temporary solutions. It is essential to note that solar chargers are efficient in powering up devices and could be the ultimate solution for green energy.

Features To Consider When Buying Solar Panel Charger

Connections

solar panel cell phone charger

Solar Panel Cell Phone ChargerSolar chargers are usually equipped with USB or universal serial bus ports. All the ports can charge mobile and other devices. The most common feature of solar panel chargers is the provision of an enhanced universal serial bus port with higher amperage as this will meet high power needs of most devices. Having a solar power charger is the best solution for most energy problems. However, it is imperative that you charge your devices when you are connected to the grid.

Integrated Batteries

Currently, panels have automatic adjustments that can help you charge up your deveices throughout the night unmonitored. It is essential to note that solar kits are the leading solutions for personal charging needs. Solar panels are known to charge devices quickly compared to batteries because they converge all solar energy into electricity and direct it to the devices. A good integrated solar device has an efficiency of up to 90% and it is not bad compared to regular batteries with efficiency of only 70-80%. The devices can be charged even with low energy. It is imperative that you can have an additional battery pack to avoid any charging interruption due to weather changes.

Ease of Use

One of the features of solar chargers is that they are effective in converting solar energy into electricity. It is imperative to note that when your are purchasing solar chargers, you should avoid excessive adapters, inconvenient set ups and cords. Choose a foldable solar panel that could be shifted with ease.

Weight

If you are buying a portable solar panel to use throughtout your trip, it should not be too heavy. You should look for a device that is lightweight. It is imperative to note that as much as you want a lightweight device, it should not take priority over efficiency, durability and reliability.

Portability

Many solar panels have integrated batteries and this is crucial for powering up devices. The integrated solar panel does not have a storage system and you should choose something that you can move around with ease. This is important especially if you want to go camping or you want to move to several areas with ease.  The solar panel should be affordable, light and small with high efficiency.

Versatility

Many panels have two USB charging ports and the amperage is indicated on the device. Conversion of direct current into alternating current is a feature that modern solar panel chargers should have and you should look for a solar panel that is effective in changing direct current into alternating current. Much power is lost during the conversion of energy and you should consider the loss when choosing a solar panel.

Solar Accessories

Many modern solar panels are equipped with USB connectors which could be used to charge handheld devices. Others are equipped with charging indicators, extension cables, alligator chips and other vital features. It is imperative that you choose a solar panel with all the essential solar accessories.

Price per Watt of the Solar Panel

The easiest way to determine the value of the solar panel is the price per watt. The price per watt will give you an ultimate value of what to expect in terms of efficiency. You should include the cost of all accessories as this will help you know if you are getting the right deal. Solar power from portable panels is affordable compared to electricity from the grid apart. It is also environmentally friendly and a renewable energy source. It is imperative that you consider your energy needs before choosing a solar panel or device for your trip. It is important to consider all your energy needs and pricing of the solar panel before you choose a portable solar device.

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TYPES OF SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAIC ENERGY COLLECTORS according to http://www.fsec.ucf.edu :

Photovoltaic systems can provide DC and/or AC power, operate in conjunction with or without a power grid, and/or stand alone.  There are two classifications of photovoltaic energy collectors: grid-connected or utility-interactive systems and stand-alone systems.

AC power

AC power

Grid-connected or utility-interactive photovoltaic energy systems work with an existing electric utility grid.  The main component of this type of system is its inverter also called the power conditioning unit or PCU.

The inverter takes the DC power produced by the system and converts it into the AC power that is appropriate for the grid that it is connected to.  It automatically stops supplying power to the grid when the grid is not energized to ensure safety during routine service or repair.

Solar photovoltaic energy systems

Solar photovoltaic energy systems

Stand-alone photovoltaic energy systems do not operate in conjunction with an electric grid and are typically designed to supply DC and/or AC electrical loads being solely powered by a photovoltaic array such as wind, engine-generator or utility power from an auxiliary power source called a photovoltaic-hybrid system.

The simplest type of a photovoltaic system is a direct coupled system.  In a direct coupled system the DC output is directly connected to a DC load and there is no battery storage.

The system only works when there is available sunlight so it is most commonly used to power things such as ventilation fans, water pumps, and small circulating pumps for solar thermal water heating systems.  The most critical part of installing and using this system to make sure that the electrical load is adequately matched with the maximum power output.

Certain solar powered appliances or machines such as positive-displacement water pumps a DC – DC converter known as a maximum power point tracker is needed in order to obtain the best power output.

 

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Governing Principals Of Photovoltaic Energy Systems according to www.dgsolarpower.com:

  1. Solar power is created when solar energy is converted into electrical energy.
  2. Solar cells are created through the use of semiconductor materials that have electronic characteristics to achieve a PV conversion device.
Types Of Solar Photovoltaic Energy Systems
  • Grid-tied Solar Photovoltaic Energy Systems

    Grid-tied Solar Photovoltaic Energy Systems

    Grid-tied Solar Photovoltaic Energy Systems as explained by solarpowerworldonline.com is a basic solar energy system that requires basic installation but does not have a battery backup or storage of any kind. This type of system is perfect for consumers who are already on a grid and want to add solar energy to their homes or businesses.

    These systems are sometimes eligible for state and federal incentives that help pay for them; they are cost effective, and relatively simple to design due to having few components. Downsides to this type of system are that when there is a power outage the system goes out too and the consumer has no control as to when the power from the system is used.

  • Grid-Tied Solar Photovoltaic Energy Systems With Battery Back-Up as explained by solarpowerworldonline.com is a grid-tied system with battery backup also known as a grid-hybrid system. This type of system is good for consumers who are already on a grid but want a battery back-up due to unpredictable power outages within their service areas.These systems are sometimes eligible for state and federal incentives, can lower the consumer’s utility bills, will provide power during an outage, and can store energy for use during an emergency.It is also possible to use this system during peak usage times.The disadvantages to these systems are that they are more expensive and less efficient than a simple grid-tied solar photovoltaic energy system that does not have a battery back-up, a charge controller is required to protect the batteries, a sub panel is required to contain the important loads that the consumer wishes to back-up, and when grid power is down important loads are isolated into a back-up sub panel.

    off-grid PV energy system

    off-grid PV energy system

  • Off-grid Photovoltaic Energy Systems as explained by solarpowerworldonline.com is an excellent choice for consumers who are unable to easily connect to a grid. This type of system can assist the consumer with becoming energy self-sufficient and can provide power to remote locations that are not near a grid.It can possibly eliminate the consumer’s charges for his energy use due to having fixed energy costs, are usually modular, and have the ability to increase the consumer’s capacity as his energy needs increase; therefore, the consumer can start with a small economical system and add onto it over time.The disadvantages to this type of system is that even on a small scale it requires more components causing the system to be more expensive, the system must be designed to cover more than 100% of the consumer’s energy loads, and it may not qualify for the same incentives as the other two photovoltaic energy systems.

 

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