What is The Solar Cell and How it Works


Solar cell or Photovoltaic cell is an element that converts sunlight directly to electricity , the PV cells technology is growing rapidly to be one the best alternative energy sources  , the first PV cell demonstrated in 1950s , it was first used to provide the power for space satellites, the solar cell was so expensive , since it was newly developed technology , with more scientific developments and with using silicon the solar cells technology the solar cells became less expensive than they were in the past,today the solar cells used to generate electricity  especially in rural areas that cannot be grid connected , also they are used in small scale application , like calculators , watches or laptops , the most important advantages of the solar cells are:

  • no running costs for buying or transporting fuels.
  • no independence on the oil producer countries ,only involves using sunlight .
  • since there are no moving parts in the PV systems , they often do not break down ,like engines or turbines.
  • solar cells can be gradually enlarged in small effort.
  • the low voltage produces by the solar cells is safe to deal with no safety restrictions needed to deal with solar cells.
  • solar cells works silently and no pollution produced while they are working.

the main dis-advantages of the solar cells are:

  • they are not economic for high power applications , like heaters or large motors.
  • the supply of spare parts is not so well established yet.
  • it produces DC voltage , so if there are machines runs on AC voltage the AC-DC converter needed which imposes additional costs in the system.
  • since it depends on sun shine , in cloudy weather less electricity produced .
  • low efficiency about 15% , but it increases with new research and developments.

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