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  An installation of 24 solar modules inrural MongoliaA solar photovoltaic module, iscomposed of individual PV cells. Thiscrystalline-silicon module has analuminium frame and glass on thefront.Solar modules on the InternationalSpace Station Solar panel From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia A solar panel  is a set of solar photovoltaic modules electricallyconnected and mounted on a supporting structure. A photovoltaicmodule is a packaged, connected assembly of solar cells. The solarmodule can be used as a component of a larger photovoltaic system togenerate and supply electricity in commercial and residentialapplications. Each module is rated by its DC output power understandard test conditions (STC), and typically ranges from 100 to 320watts. The efficiency of a module determines the area of a module giventhe same rated output - an 8% efficient 230 watt module will have twicethe area of a 16% efficient 230 watt module. A single solar module canproduce only a limited amount of power; most installations containmultiple modules. A photovoltaic system typically includes a panel or anarray of solar modules, an inverter, and sometimes a battery and/or solartracker and interconnection wiring. Contents 1 Theory and construction2 Efficiencies3 Crystalline silicon modules4 Thin-film modules4.1 Rigid thin-film modules4.2 Flexible thin-film modules5 Solar micro-inverter6 Module performance and aging7 Recycling8 Production8.1 Top ten producers9 Price10 Mounting systems10.1 Trackers10.2 Fixed racks10.3 Ground mounted10.4 Roof mounting11 Standards12 Devices with photovoltaic modules13 See also14 References Theory and construction See also: Solar cell Solar panel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_panel1 of 1012/2/2013 12:26 AM  A half-built homemade solarmodule, made fromindividual cells solderedtogetherPolycrystalline PV cellsconnected in a solar module. Solar modules use light energy (photons) from the sun to generate electricitythrough the photovoltaic effect. The majority of modules use wafer-basedcrystalline silicon cells or thin-film cells based on cadmium telluride or silicon.The structural (load carrying) member of a module can either be the top layer orthe back layer. Cells must also be protected from mechanical damage andmoisture. Most solar modules are rigid, but semi-flexible ones are available,based on thin-film cells. These early solar modules were first used in space in1958.Electrical connections are made in series to achieve a desired output voltageand/or in parallel to provide a desired current capability. The conducting wiresthat take the current off the modules may contain silver, copper or othernon-magnetic conductive transition metals. The cells must be connectedelectrically to one another and to the rest of the system. Externally, popularterrestrial usage photovoltaic modules use MC3 (older) or MC4 connectors tofacilitate easy weatherproof connections to the rest of the system.Bypass diodes may be incorporated or used externally, in case of partial moduleshading, to maximize the output of module sections still illuminated.Some recent solar module designs include concentrators in which light is focusedby lenses or mirrors onto an array of smaller cells. This enables the use of cellswith a high cost per unit area (such as gallium arsenide) in a cost-effectiveway. [ citation needed  ] Efficiencies Depending on construction, photovoltaic modules can produce electricity from arange of frequencies of light, but usually cannot cover the entire solar range(specifically, ultraviolet, infrared and low or diffused light). Hence much of theincident sunlight energy is wasted by solar modules, and they can give far higherefficiencies if illuminated with monochromatic light. Therefore, another designconcept is to split the light into different wavelength ranges and direct the beamsonto different cells tuned to those ranges. [1]  This has been projected to becapable of raising efficiency by 50%.Currently the best achieved sunlight conversion rate (solar module efficiency) is around 19.8% in newcommercial products [2]  typically lower than the efficiencies of their cells in isolation. The most efficientmass-produced solar modules have energy density values of up to 16.22 W/ft 2  (175 W/m 2 ). [3]  A research byImperial College, London has shown that the efficiency of a solar panel can be improved by studding the light-receiving semiconductor surface with aluminum nanocylinders similar to the ridges on Lego blocks. Thescattered light then travels along a longer path in the semiconductor which meant that more photons could beabsorbed and converted into current. Although these nanocylinders were used previously in which aluminumwas preceded by gold and silver, the light scattering occurred in the near infrared region and visible light wasabsorbed strongly. Aluminum was found to have absorbed ultraviolet part of the spectrum and the visible andnear infrared parts of the spectrum were found to be scattered by the aluminum surface. This, the researchargued, could bring down the cost significantly and improve the efficiency as aluminum is more abundant andless costly than gold and silver. The research also noted that the increase in current makes thinner film solarpanels technically feasible without compromising power conversion efficiencies, thus reducing material Solar panel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_panel2 of 1012/2/2013 12:26 AM  consumption . [4] Crystalline silicon modules  Main article: Solar cell Most solar modules are currently produced from silicon photovoltaic cells. These are typically categorized asmonocrystalline or polycrystalline modules. Thin-film modules  Main articles: Thin film solar cell and Third generation solar cell Third generation solar cells are advanced thin-film cells. They produce a relatively high-efficiency conversionfor the low cost compared to other solar technologies. Rigid thin-film modules In rigid thin film modules , the cell and the module are manufactured in the same production line.The cell is created on a glass substrate or superstrate, and the electrical connections are created in situ , aso-called monolithic integration . The substrate or superstrate is laminated with an encapsulant to a front orback sheet, usually another sheet of glass.The main cell technologies in this category are CdTe, or a-Si, or a-Si+uc-Si tandem, or CIGS (or variant).Amorphous silicon has a sunlight conversion rate of 6-12%. Flexible thin-film modules Flexible thin film  cells and modules are created on the same production line by depositing the photoactive layerand other necessary layers on a flexible substrate.If the substrate is an insulator (e.g. polyester or polyimide film) then monolithic integration can be used.If it is a conductor then another technique for electrical connection must be used.The cells are assembled into modules by laminating them to a transparent colourless fluoropolymer on the frontside (typically ETFE or FEP) and a polymer suitable for bonding to the final substrate on the other side. Theonly commercially available (in MW quantities) flexible module uses amorphous silicon triple junction (fromUnisolar).So-called inverted metamorphic (IMM) multijunction solar cells made on compound-semiconductor technologyare just becoming commercialized in July 2008. The University of Michigan's solar car that won the NorthAmerican Solar Challenge in July 2008 used IMM thin-film flexible solar cells.The requirements for residential and commercial are different in that the residential needs are simple and can bepackaged so that as solar cell technology progresses, the other base line equipment such as the battery, inverterand voltage sensing transfer switch still need to be compacted and unitized for residential use. Commercial use,depending on the size of the service will be limited in the photovoltaic cell arena, and more complex parabolic Solar panel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_panel3 of 1012/2/2013 12:26 AM  reflectors and solar concentrators are becoming the dominant technology. [ citation needed  ] Flexible thin-film panels are optimal for portable applications as they are much more resistant to breakage thanregular crystalline cells, but can be broken by bending them into a sharp angle. They are also much lighter persquare foot than standard rigid solar panels.The global flexible and thin-film photovoltaic (PV) market, despite caution in the overall PV industry, isexpected to experience a CAGR of over 35% to 2019, surpassing 32 GW according to a major new study byIntertechPira. [5] Solar micro-inverter  Main article: Solar micro-inverter  Several companies have begun embedding electronics into PV modules. This enables performing maximumpower point tracking (MPPT) for each module individually, and the measurement of performance data formonitoring and fault detection at module level. Some of these solutions make use of power optimizers, aDC-to-DC converter technology developed to maximize the power harvest from solar photovoltaic systems. Asof about 2010, such electronics can also compensate for shading effects, wherein a shadow falling across asection of a module causes the electrical output of one or more strings of cells in the module to fall to zero, butnot having the output of the entire module fall to zero. Module performance and aging Module performance is generally rated under standard test conditions (STC): irradiance of 1,000 W/m², solarspectrum of AM 1.5 and module temperature at 25°C.Electrical characteristics include nominal power (P MAX , measured in W), open circuit voltage (V OC ), shortcircuit current (I SC , measured in amperes), maximum power voltage (V MPP ), maximum power current (I MPP ),peak power, W p , and module efficiency (%).Nominal voltage refers to the voltage of the battery that the module is best suited to charge; this is a leftoverterm from the days when solar modules were only used to charge batteries. The actual voltage output of themodule changes as lighting, temperature and load conditions change, so there is never one specific voltage atwhich the module operates. Nominal voltage allows users, at a glance, to make sure the module is compatiblewith a given system.Open circuit voltage or V OC  is the maximum voltage that the module can produce when not connected to anelectrical circuit or system. V OC  can be measured with a meter directly on an illuminated module's terminals oron its disconnected cable.The peak power rating, W p , is the maximum output under standard test conditions (not the maximum possibleoutput). Typical modules, which could measure approximately 1x2 meters or 2x4 feet, will be rated from as lowas 75 watts to as high as 350 watts, depending on their efficiency. At the time of testing, the test modules arebinned according to their test results, and a typical manufacturer might rate their modules in 5 watt increments,and either rate them at +/- 3%, +/-5%, +3/-0% or +5/-0%. [6][7][8][9] Solar modules must withstand rain, hail, and cycles of heat and cold for many years. Many crystalline siliconmodule manufacturers offer a warranty that guarantees electrical production for 10 years at 90% of rated power Solar panel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopediahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_panel4 of 1012/2/2013 12:26 AM
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