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TEN100

Solar Energy Quiz



Photovoltaic energy: method for generating electric power by using solar cells to
convert energy from the sun into a flow of electrons. The photovoltaic effect refers
to photons of light exciting electrons into a higher state of energy, allowing them to
act as charge carriers for an electric current.

Process
When certain semiconducting materials, such as certain kinds of silicon, are exposed to
sunlight, they release small amounts of electricity. This process is known as the
photoelectric effect. The photoelectric effect refers to the emission, or ejection, of
electrons from the surface of a metal in response to light. It is the basic physical process
in which a solar electric or photovoltaic (PV) cell converts sunlight to electricity.
Sunlight is made up of photons, or particles of solar energy. Photons contain various
amounts of energy, corresponding to the different wavelengths of the solar spectrum.
When photons strike a PV cell, they may be reflected or absorbed, or they may pass right

through. Only the absorbed photons generate electricity. When this happens, the energy
of the photon is transferred to an electron in an atom of the PV cell (which is actually a
semiconductor).
With its newfound energy, the electron escapes from its normal position in an atom of the
semiconductor material and becomes part of the current in an electrical circuit. By
leaving its position, the electron causes a hole to form. Special electrical properties of the
PV cella built-in electric fieldprovide the voltage needed to drive the current through
an external load (such as a light bulb).

Photovoltaic Components
- modules (groups of PV cells), which are commonly called PV panels
- one or more batteries
- a charge regulator or controller for a stand-alone system
- an inverter for a utility-grid-connected system and when alternating current (ac) rather
than direct current (dc) is required
- wiring
- mounting hardware or a framework.

Difference between PV and other Solar Power Technologies


1. Photovoltaic (PV) systems, which convert sunlight directly to electricity by means
of PV cells made of semiconductor materials.
2. Concentrating solar power (CSP) systems, which concentrate the sun's energy
using reflective devices such as troughs or mirror panels to produce heat that is
then used to generate electricity.
3. Solar water heating systems, which contain a solar collector that faces the sun and
either heats water directly or heats a "working fluid" that, in turn, is used to heat
water.
4. Transpired solar collectors, or "solar walls," which use solar energy to preheat
ventilation air for a building.
Net Metering: a policy that allows homeowners to receive the full retail value for the
electricity that their solar energy system produces. The term net metering refers to the
method of accounting for the photovoltaic (PV) system's electricity production. Net
metering allows homeowners with PV systems to use any excess electricity they produce
to offset their electric bill. As the homeowner's PV system produces electricity, the
kilowatts are first used for any electric appliances in the home. If the PV system produces
more electricity than the homeowner needs, the extra kilowatts are fed into the utility
grid.