What Are Solar PV Systems and How Do They Work?
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) systems work on the “photoelectric effect”, in which, certain semiconducting materials such as silicon produce electricity when exposed to sunlight.
Materials, which display the photoelectric effect are used to produce solar cells and solar modules (a collection of cells). They generate direct current (DC), which is fed into an inverter, to convert the DC into alternating current (AC). This AC is then used to power all electrical loads.
The efficiency of converting sunlight into electricity varies according to the type of solar cell used. Efficiencies for commercially available solar cells range from 12% for thin film cells to as high as 22% (for mono-crystalline solar cells). Solar cell efficiencies are also increasing with each passing year as more and more research drives the technology forward.