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Solar

August 20, 2013
Concentrating Solar Power Basics

Concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect solar energy and convert it to heat. This thermal energy can then be used to produce electricity via a steam turbine or heat engine that drives a generator.

August 20, 2013
Flat-Plate Photovoltaic Module Basics

Flat-plate photovoltaic (PV) modules are made of several components, including the front surface materials, encapsulant, rear surface, and frame.

August 20, 2013
Photovoltaic System Performance Basics

Photovoltaic (PV) systems are usually composed of numerous solar arrays, which in turn, are composed of numerous PV cells. The performance of the system is therefore dependent on the performance of its components.

August 20, 2013
Concentrator Photovoltaic System Basics

Concentrator photovoltaic (PV) systems use less solar cell material than other PV systems. PV cells are the most expensive components of a PV system, on a per-area basis. A concentrator makes use of relatively inexpensive materials such as plastic lenses and metal housings to capture the solar energy shining on a fairly large area and focus that energy onto a smaller area—the solar cell.

August 20, 2013
Flat-Plate Photovoltaic System Basics

The most common photovoltaic (PV) array design uses flat-plate PV modules or panels. These panels can be fixed in place or allowed to track the movement of the sun.

August 20, 2013
Photovoltaic System Basics

A photovoltaic (PV), or solar electric system, is made up of several photovoltaic solar cells. An individual PV cell is usually small, typically producing about 1 or 2 watts of power.

August 20, 2013
Photovoltaic Cell Quantum Efficiency Basics

Quantum efficiency (QE) is the ratio of the number of charge carriers collected by a photovoltaic (PV) cell to the number of photons—or packets of light—of a given energy shining on the solar cell.

August 20, 2013
Photovoltaic Cell Conversion Efficiency Basics

The conversion efficiency of a photovoltaic (PV) cell, or solar cell, is the percentage of the solar energy shining on a PV device that is converted into electrical energy, or electricity.

August 20, 2013
Photovoltaic Single-Crystalline, Thin-Film Cell Basics

Single-crystalline thin films are made from gallium arsenide (GaAs), a compound semiconductor that is a mixture of gallium and arsenic.

August 20, 2013
Photovoltaic Polycrystalline Thin-Film Cell Basics

Polycrystalline thin-film cells are made of many tiny crystalline grains of semiconductor materials. The materials used in these cells have properties that are different from those of silicon.