Photovoltaics in the United Kingdom

3050 Words Feb 19th, 2018 12 Pages
The chapter will aim to address the issues highlighted in the objectives of this paper. This chapter will form an essential basis for the research in which comparisons can be made.

2.1 - What are Photovoltaics?

Photovoltaic energy generation is the direct conversion of sunlight into energy. It offers one of the few ways of generating electricity in urban areas that is free of noxious emissions and noise.

Photovolaic materials, commonly known as solar cells, generate direct current electrical energy when exposed to light. Mott Green & Wall state that ‘solar cells are constructed from certain semi-conducting materials that absorb solar radiation; electrons are displaced within the material, thus starting a flow of current through an external connected circuit.’ (Mott Green & Wall, 2002, p43)

Figure 1 shows the basic process of how photovoltaic panels produce electricity.

Fig 1 - The Power Producing Process (Battle, 1998)

The ability to generate electricity from sunlight is a relatively new and exciting technology that offers many new opportunities in generating ‘green’ electricity. This technology is called solar photovoltaics or more simply, PV. PV offers the ability to generate electricity in a clean, quiet and renewable way. It makes use of the abundant energy from the sun, to generate electricity without the production of…