Every hour, enough sunlight reaches the earth to meet the entire planet’s energy demands for a full year. As a result, demand for solar energy has grown at about 25 percent a year for the past 15 years.
Through the use of photovoltaic cells, solar energy can be converted directly into electricity. A photovoltaic cell is a non-mechanical device usually made from silicon alloys. As sunlight strikes the cell, it creates an electron imbalance between the front and back surfaces. Electricity is formed when the surfaces are interfaced by a conductor. The Individual PV cells are electrically connected into a packaged, weather-tight module. Depending on the power output needed, modules can be further connected to form a PV array, essentially a generating plant made up of any number of modules.
For photovoltaic technology to be considered, the facility should be tied to the grid and/or have ability for a stand alone photovoltaic system to provide electricity at or near current costs when state incentives are factored in and/or electricity rates are above $.10 to $.12 per KWH.
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