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What is Photovoltaics? How does a Solar Photovoltaic System work?

 

‘Photovoltaic’ is formed from the Greek word ‘photo’ (for light) and the surname of physicist 'Alessandro Volta'. The unit of measurement for electrical voltage (Volt) is named after him. Photovoltaic thus means ‘voltage (electricity) from light’.

When solar or light energy is utilised with a photovoltaic plant, the sun’s rays are converted directly into electrical energy by means of solar modules. Even diffuse light from overcast skies is used.

The light from the sun contains photons. When these photons strike an atom in a solar cell, they throw individual electrons out of their orbit. These released electrons then seek new atoms and are accepted into their orbits. Solar cells are put together in several thin layers. The elaborate manufacturing process ensures that these free electrons can only flow in one direction – and an electrical current is created.

Individual solar cells made of silicon are joined together to make solar modules, which can then be mounted on roofs.

An inverter then uses the direct current supplied by the solar cells to produce alternating current. This current is fed into the electrical network of the responsible energy supplying company and paid for accordingly, or it can be used for one’s own consumption.

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