How to Select Photovoltaic Cells and Panels   Solar panel Image Credit: Digi-key | inhabitat.com   Photovoltaic cells or solar cells generate a voltage when radiant energy falls on the boundary between dissimilar substances.  The photovoltaic process converts the energy of the sun directly into electricity using solar cells. This conversion is called the photovoltaic effect. The light hitting the solar cell produces both voltage and current to generate electrical...
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Q & A on Photovoltaic Cells and Panels

We asked our users for their input on Photovoltaic Cells and Panels. Here are the results of 379 users familiar with Photovoltaic Cells and Panels.

Who Took Our Poll? | Design Trends | Applications and Use | Features | Buying Advice |

Who Took Our Poll?Top

Design TrendsTop

Q:
What new technologies are influencing photovoltaic cell design?
60 answers
Answers:
Photovoltaic panels based on crystalline silicon modules are being partially replaced in the market by panels that employ thin-film solar cells (CdTe[28] CIGS,[29] amorphous Si,[30] microcrystalline Si), which are rapidly growing and are expected to account for 31 percent of the global installed power by 2013.
~Engineering, Design, Al_Khobar, Saudi Arabia
Thin film, although not accessible, (as far as I know) particularly to a small company as mine. Aquatek Industries has been in business over 30 years, producing water purification systems, commercial, industrial, and medical. I verily believe that there is a definite synergy between alternative energy & water.
~AUSTIN N, Design Engineer, PHARR, TX
Getting it cheap enough for more people to afford it. Plus getting permission from the New World Order to let the middle class take advantage of this opportunity without them controlling it.
~Frank K, Research & Development, Chesapaeke, City or Norfolk
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Q:
From your perspective, which companies are creating the most innovative photovoltaic cells?
47 answers
Answers:
First Solar and Sanyo have created innovative PV already. But from now, I expect Mitsubishi Chemical could achieve innovative organic PV because of their high commitment.
~Yoshi K, Consultant, Tokyo, JPN
Scheuten Solar, First Solar as well as improving performance Schott and Suntech, Canadian solar also has good products.
~Anthony D, Project Manager, Melbourne, Australia
There are many companies dedicated to R & D around the world both in Europe, America and Japan.
~Design Engineer, London, Great Britain
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Applications and UseTop

Q:
What are some of the applications you have used photovoltaic cells for?
94 answers
Answers:
The stock of south oriented roofs for PV solar panels is going to be exhausted and therefore arise a shortage free of water-heating system roof-tops upon the building for PV solar panel installations. Solution of this problem is on the walls. I have developed a HEVSP -- HIGH EFFICIENCY VERTICAL SOLAR PANEL for installation on building walls oriented to south, south-west & south-east . This device performance is same as a regular roof solar panels, plus it blends with the building wall as a flat architectural element with thickness less than 8cm. This device includes 2 subsystems: rectangular PV modules, and - platform(frame - a known reliable product ) to keep up - these modules faced perpendicularly to SUN FLUX BEAM programmed for sun position over the skyline. Important is : the ability to use building walls in addition to roof for solar energy absorption. Now in buildings south most of roof surface is used for water heating. Usually in a building the south wall's surface is bigger than south roof . So HEVSP has a good opportunity to be added to the roof solar electrical systems for energy collection on building walls and sending it to the grid for fuel saving.
~Engineering, Design, Yehud, Israel
Presently building a boost buck converter to get the most efficient power out of a photovoltaic cell (third year project). Used photovoltaic cells to generate electricity in South Africa (small scale).
~Gerhard J, Student, Plymouth, United kingdom
Electrical service for homes, security cameras in non electrified areas. Remote mountain terrain for two way radio communications power. Golf cart battery charging stations.
~William M, Engineering Consultant, PALM DESERT, CA
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Q:
Please share with us any “non-standard” applications that photovoltaic cells have been used for.
28 answers
Answers:
Canopy eave space as weather protection; when the client's requirement was for a standard canopy, we integrated a weatherproof PV canopy. In a commercial property providing the absorption of the sun's rays into the panels substantially reduced the heat load by the shading value underneath the panels therefore improving the air conditioning load in the building.
~Anthony D, Project Manager, Melbourne, Australia
I am from India. We are short of electric energy at remote places. I had a project to supply domestic d.c. fans for home use. We were not successful fully due to non availability of good and cheap solar cells.
~Gajanan Deshmukh, Manufaturer of domestic ceiling fans, Pune, India
I am unsure except that they have a wide array of uses especially in the aerospace / satellite industry. Wider use of PV cells is happening in arid desert areas where grid access is harder to acquire.
~Ron G, Control Operator (Coal Fired Power Plant), Fontana, KS
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Q:
Do you know of any disastrous mistakes that occurred due to the incorrect usage of photovoltaic cells?
18 answers
Answers:
At times the installations of PV systems have people installing a small system (by others) with expectations of great returns and wondering why their power bills are higher than they were previously. The system must be designed with the consumption of the dwelling in mind. This can be constant demand requirements (commercial) and or lifestyle characteristics (domestic) the system installed is using all the power generated and the power savings minimal, whilst the offer of a PFIT tariff provides a higher return on the power back to the grid the costs of the standard rate has increased. Design must meet the site specific requirements!
~Anthony D, Project Manager, Melbourne, Australia
No, every one I know has installed cells bit by bit as each situation has different results. Adding cells on allows one to evaluate what they really need and avoid over buying.
~KARIN OSTREICHER, Marketing/Sales, SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Yes, a few of small cost damage, probably due to lack of knowledge of this technology, i.e. no earth protection for the system.
~Design Engineer, London, Great Britain
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FeaturesTop

Q:
What would your design or feature "wish list" be for this product?
54 answers
Answers:
I believe that we need this system to recover the Earth, our precious planet, and produce water from the sea, from moisture, to use for hydroponics, vertical vegetable walls, and generating hydrogen fuel instead of fossil fuel, endless uses in production of all human need.
~Rodolph F, Research & Development, Byblos, Leanon
To create a product rugged enough to be used as roofing material and be economical for the general public to purchase. I believe that there is some work being done in this line at this time.
~Hans-J. R, Retiered, Lucan, Canada
High conversion efficiency, improved sensitivity to light, improved physical qualities, low degradation to light, high T coefficient, standardized open circuit current.
~Design Engineer, London, Great Britain
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Buying AdviceTop

Q:
Do you have any advice for people relative to buying or using photovoltaic cells?
43 answers
Answers:
Fully consider the requirements and what the expectations are and then get good qualified advice in relation to the design. Ensure all areas are covered in the design (ie performance, aesthetics, yield analysis, maintenance requirements and method). If no yield analysis is done on an existing install, have an expert do that for you specific to your site and/or get a second opinion from an independent person. Have your eyes wide open when purchasing a PV system for your premises to avoid any companies that may have low integrity or skill.
~Anthony D, Project Manager, Melbourne, Australia
Why be a pioneer and take all the arrows. The next step in efficiency improvement coupled with production efficiencies leads me much closer to adoption/building a photovoltaic system. Bang for the buck in offsetting the electric company costs is always important. It cannot cost a lot more to do photovoltaics. What is a lot you ask? It keeps changing.
~Paul G, Technical Support, Ithaca, NY
Follow a proper power design according to specifications with regards to power requirements, distribution and specific applications. Read carefully the specs provided by panel suppliers and make sure it covers all requirements with regards to geographic location.
~Design Engineer, London, Great Britain
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Q:
Is there any advice you want to share with users to help them avoid common errors in selection or usage of photovoltaic cells?
35 answers
Answers:
Ensure the system is sized effectively to achieve your outcomes required; people's reasons for installations differ so consider your own reasons first and have the design provided to you fully explained how and why it will match the brief you have provided on your initial request. If the system design does not match your requested brief then there may be reasons through regulation size limits etc. that the system cannot make a match to your request. Ensure the person/company can think outside the square if you are thinking in a circle.
~Anthony D, Project Manager, Melbourne, Australia
Yes only buy from from well proven reliable companies. Buying cheap systems doesn't reduce your power bills and they seldom have back up service. This happened to my parent, system broke down and we could not get in touch with the dealer or installer.
~Melvyn A, Engineer, Nambour, Australia
Read, read read and talk to people who have installed cells. The internet is also a great way to gather information and make decisions and avoid installation errors.
~KARIN OSTREICHER, Marketing/Sales, SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
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