Chapter 8

Solar Photovoltaic Technologies

Abstract

The solar photovoltaic cell is a solid-state device that exploits properties inherent in semiconducting materials to capture photons of light and use them to generate an electric current. They are constructed using microchip technology and have the same efficiency, whether in a tiny pocket calculator or in a central power station generating hundreds of megawatts. Economies of scale in the production process have seen prices fall continuously since the 1980s. They are likely to become one of the cheapest forms of electricity generation within a decade, and probably offer the best long-term renewable source of energy and replacement for fossil fuel generation on the planet. Much of the global power ...

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