PV Sources – Solar Energy (LS-PL-308)

Photovoltaics (PV) – a field of science and technology dealing with the conversion of sunlight into electricity, i.e. the production of electricity from solar radiation using photovoltaic phenomenon.


During the classes, students will learn about the basics of PV source construction, application, efficiency and application in everyday life, as well as how they affect the environment.

Photovoltaics is currently used, despite the relatively high costs (although these are decreasing, and cheaper technologies are being developed, e.g. based on perovskites) compared to conventional sources, for two main reasons: ecological (where ecology is more important than economics), and practical (solar radiation is practically available everywhere).

Raw material

The main raw material for the production of solar cells is silicon wafer, but not amorphous, but crystalline. Thin-film panels (CIGS) are formed by spraying a thin layer of copper, indium, gallium, selenium on the surface of glass or plastic and adding electrodes. A single cell is able to generate a power of 1-6,97 W. In order to maximize the effects obtained, the cells are combined into photovoltaic modules (cell groups in the device). Cells are most often produced in panels with an area of ​​0.2 – 1.0 m². These cells are primarily used in space technology. Their advantages are maintenance-free and long life, guaranteed for 25 years. In addition, they are used as a power source for stand-alone devices, e.g. signal buoys, traffic lights, etc. They also begin to reach buildings and buildings, especially those away from power networks.

Sources and their development

Photovoltaic cells are also used in consumer electronics (calculators, garden lamps, lighting road signs), supplying telemetry systems in measuring and filling stations for natural gas, oil and electricity, supplying industrial and measuring automation as well as energy production in the first solar power plants. Cells of this type are also used at home. They are often mistaken for solar collectors, which are distinguished by the fact that they transform the energy of solar radiation into heat.

Solar farms are experiencing intensive development: At the end of 2006, 1,581 MW of solar panels were installed worldwide and the accumulated capacity was 6,890 MW. Five years later, in 2011, as much as 27,650 MW solar batteries were installed, and the accumulated power increased to 67,350 MW. Germany is the leader in installed solar panels (32 380 MW of solar panels). For comparison, the potential of Polish conventional power plants is around 38,000 MW.

Photovoltaics, as a field dealing with the production of electricity from a renewable source, which in the time microscale we used to consider the Sun, is currently developing very dynamically and it should be assumed that in the near future it will be increasingly used.

Programs promoting PV in Poland

As part of the Clean Air program in 2018-2019, you can obtain subsidies for a photovoltaic installation in Poland. Obtaining a subsidy for a photovoltaic installation is also possible thanks to the program “My Current”, which is implemented by the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management. The budget of the program is PLN 1 billion and is planned for 2019-2024 or until the available funds are exhausted earlier. The amount of funding for one solar installation with a capacity of 2 kW to 10 kW is up to 5,000. zlotys.

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CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana Collections and provided by the Latvian Museum of Energy.

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