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Photovoltaicsystem
FromWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Aphotovoltaicsystem,alsosolarPVpowersystem,orPVsystem,isa
powersystemdesignedtosupplyusablesolarpowerbymeansof
photovoltaics.Itconsistsofanarrangementofseveralcomponents,
includingsolarpanelstoabsorbandconvertsunlightintoelectricity,a
solarinvertertochangetheelectriccurrentfromDCtoAC,aswellas
mounting,cablingandotherelectricalaccessoriestosetupaworking
system.Itmayalsouseasolartrackingsystemtoimprovethesystem's
overallperformanceandincludeanintegratedbatterysolution,asprices
forstoragedevicesareexpectedtodecline.Strictlyspeaking,asolar
arrayonlyencompassestheensembleofsolarpanels,thevisiblepartof
thePVsystem,anddoesnotincludealltheotherhardware,often
summarizedasbalanceofsystem(BOS).Moreover,PVsystemsconvert
lightdirectlyintoelectricityandshouldn'tbeconfusedwithother
technologies,suchasconcentratedsolarpowerorsolarthermal,usedfor
heatingandcooling.
PVsystemsrangefromsmall,rooftopmountedorbuildingintegrated
systemswithcapacitiesfromafewtoseveraltensofkilowatts,tolarge
utilityscalepowerstationsofhundredsofmegawatts.Nowadays,most
PVsystemsaregridconnected,whileoffgridorstandalonesystems
onlyaccountforasmallportionofthemarket.
Operatingsilentlyandwithoutanymovingpartsorenvironmental
emissions,PVsystemshavedevelopedfrombeingnichemarket
applicationsintoamaturetechnologyusedformainstreamelectricity
generation.Arooftopsystemrecoupstheinvestedenergyforits
manufacturingandinstallationwithin0.7to2yearsandproducesabout
95percentofnetcleanrenewableenergyovera30yearservice
lifetime.[1]:30[2][3]

Photovoltaicpowersystemsandcomponents:
Top:solarstringinverterandotherBOScomponents
SolararrayonrooftopinHonkong,ChinaBIPVon
balconyinHelsinki,Finland
Middle:rooftopsysteminBoston,UnitedStates
WestmillsolarparkintheUnitedKingdomDualaxis
trackerwithCPVmodulesTopaz,oneoftheworlds
largestsolarpowerstation,asseenfromspace
Bottom:commercialrooftopPVsystemofabout400
kWpPowerplantonMt.Komekura,JapanSolarPV
systemonGermany'shighestmountaintop

Duetotheexponentialgrowthofphotovoltaics,pricesforPVsystems
haverapidlydeclinedinrecentyears.However,theyvarybymarketand
thesizeofthesystem.In2014,pricesforresidential5kilowattsystems
intheUnitedStateswerearound$3.29perwatt,[4]whileinthehighlypenetratedGermanmarket,pricesforrooftopsystemsof
upto100kWdeclinedto1.24perwatt.[5]Nowadays,solarPVmodulesaccountforlessthanhalfofthesystem'soverall
cost,[6]leavingtheresttotheremainingBOScomponentsandtosoftcosts,whichincludecustomeracquisition,permitting,
inspectionandinterconnection,installationlaborandfinancingcosts.[7]:14

Contents
1Modernsystem
1.1Overview
1.2Gridconnection
1.3Scaleofsystem
1.4Performance
2Components
2.1Solararray
2.2Mounting
2.3Cabling
2.4Tracker
2.5Inverter
2.6Battery
2.7Monitoringandmetering
3Othersystems
3.1CPV
3.2Hybrid
3.3Floatovoltaics
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3.4Directcurrentgrid
3.5Standalone
4Costsandeconomy
4.1Systemcost2013
5Regulation
5.1Standardization
5.2Planningandpermit
5.3Nationalregulations
6Seealso
7References
8Externallinks

Modernsystem
Overview
Aphotovoltaicsystemconvertsthesun'sradiationintousableelectricity.Itcomprises
thesolararrayandthebalanceofsystemcomponents.PVsystemscanbecategorizedby
variousaspects,suchas,gridconnectedvs.standalonesystems,buildingintegratedvs.
rackmountedsystems,residentialvs.utilitysystems,distributedvs.centralizedsystems,
rooftopvs.groundmountedsystems,trackingvs.fixedtiltsystems,andnewconstructed
vs.retrofittedsystems.Otherdistinctionsmayinclude,systemswithmicroinvertersvs.
centralinverter,systemsusingcrystallinesiliconvs.thinfilmtechnology,andsystems
withmodulesfromChinesevs.EuropeanandU.S.manufacturers.
About99percentofallEuropeanand90percentofallU.S.solarpowersystemsare
connectedtotheelectricalgrid,whileoffgridsystemsaresomewhatmorecommonin
Diagramofthepossiblecomponents
AustraliaandSouthKorea.[8]:14PVsystemsrarelyusebatterystorage.Thismaychange
ofaphotovoltaicsystem
soon,asgovernmentincentivesfordistributedenergystoragearebeingimplementedand
investmentsinstoragesolutionsaregraduallybecomingeconomicallyviableforsmall
systems.[9][10]AsolararrayofatypicalresidentialPVsystemisrackmountedontheroof,ratherthanintegratedintotheroofor
facadeofthebuilding,asthisissignificantlymoreexpensive.Utilityscalesolarpowerstationsaregroundmounted,withfixed
tiltedsolarpanelsratherthanusingexpensivetrackingdevices.Crystallinesiliconisthepredominantmaterialusedin90percent
ofworldwideproducedsolarmodules,whilerivalthinfilmhaslostmarketshareinrecentyears.[1]:1720About70percentofall
solarcellsandmodulesareproducedinChinaandTaiwan,leavingonly5percenttoEuropeanandUSmanufacturers.[1]:1112
Theinstalledcapacityforboth,smallrooftopsystemsandlargesolarpowerstationsisgrowingrapidlyandinequalparts,
althoughthereisanotabletrendtowardsutilityscalesystems,asthefocusonnewinstallationsisshiftingawayfromEuropeto
sunnierregions,suchastheSunbeltintheU.S.,whicharelessopposedtogroundmountedsolarfarmsandcosteffectivenessis
moreemphasizedbyinvestors.[8]:43
Drivenbyadvancesintechnologyandincreasesinmanufacturingscaleandsophistication,thecostofphotovoltaicsisdeclining
continuously.[3]ThereareseveralmillionPVsystemsdistributedallovertheworld,mostlyinEurope,with1.4millionsystems
inGermanyalone[1]:5aswellasNorthAmericawith440,000systemsintheUnitedStates,[11]Theenergyconversion
efficiencyofaconventionalsolarmoduleincreasedfrom15to20percentoverthelast10years[1]:17andaPVsystemrecoups
theenergyneededforitsmanufactureinabout2years.Inexceptionallyirradiatedlocations,orwhenthinfilmtechnologyis
used,thesocalledenergypaybacktimedecreasestooneyearorless.[1]:3033Netmeteringandfinancialincentives,suchas
preferentialfeedintariffsforsolargeneratedelectricity,havealsogreatlysupportedinstallationsofPVsystemsinmany
countries.[12]ThelevelisedcostofelectricityfromlargescalePVsystemshasbecomecompetitivewithconventionalelectricity
sourcesinanexpandinglistofgeographicregions,andgridparityhasbeenachievedinabout30differentcountries.[13][14][15]
Asof2015,thefastgrowingglobalPVmarketisrapidlyapproachingthe200GWmarkabout40timestheinstalledcapacity
of2006.[16]Photovoltaicsystemscurrentlycontributeabout1percenttoworldwideelectricitygeneration.TopinstallersofPV
systemsintermsofcapacityarecurrentlyChina,JapanandtheUnitedStates,whilehalfoftheworld'scapacityisinstalledin
Europe,withGermanyandItalysupplying7%to8%oftheirrespectivedomesticelectricityconsumptionwithsolarPV.[17]The
InternationalEnergyAgencyexpectssolarpowertobecometheworld'slargestsourceofelectricityby2050,withsolar
photovoltaicsandconcentratedsolarthermalcontributing16%and11%totheglobaldemand,respectively.[7]

Gridconnection
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Mainarticle:Gridconnectedphotovoltaicpowersystem
Agridconnectedsystemisconnectedtoalargerindependentgrid(typicallythe
publicelectricitygrid)andfeedsenergydirectlyintothegrid.Thisenergymaybe
sharedbyaresidentialorcommercialbuildingbeforeoraftertherevenue
measurementpoint.Thedifferencebeingwhetherthecreditedenergyproductionis
calculatedindependentlyofthecustomer'senergyconsumption(feedintariff)oronly
onthedifferenceofenergy(netmetering).Gridconnectedsystemsvaryinsizefrom
residential(210kWp)tosolarpowerstations(upto10sofMWp).Thisisaformof
decentralizedelectricitygeneration.Thefeedingofelectricityintothegridrequires
SchematicsofatypicalresidentialPV
thetransformationofDCintoACbyaspecial,synchronisinggridtieinverter.In
system
kilowattsizedinstallationstheDCsidesystemvoltageisashighaspermitted
(typically1000VexceptUSresidential600V)tolimitohmiclosses.Mostmodules
(60or72crystallinesiliconcells)generate160Wto300Wat36volts.Itissometimesnecessaryordesirabletoconnectthe
modulespartiallyinparallelratherthanallinseries.Onesetofmodulesconnectedinseriesisknownasa'string'.[18]

Scaleofsystem
Photovoltaicsystemsaregenerallycategorizedintothreedistinctmarketsegments:residentialrooftop,commercialrooftop,and
groundmountutilityscalesystems.Theircapacitiesrangefromafewkilowattstohundredsofmegawats.Atypicalresidential
systemisaround10kilowattsandmountedonaslopedroof,whilecommercialsystemsmayreachamegawattscaleandare
generallyinstalledonlowslopeorevenflatroofs.Althoughrooftopmountedsystemsaresmallanddisplayahighercostper
wattthanlargeutilityscaleinstallations,theyaccountforthelargestshareinthemarket.Thereis,however,agrowingtrend
towardsbiggerutilityscalepowerplants,especiallyinthe"sunbelt"regionoftheplanet.[8]:43[19]
Utilityscale
Mainarticle:Photovoltaicpowerstation
Largeutilityscalesolarparksorfarmsarepowerstationsandcapableofproviding
anenergysupplytolargenumbersofconsumers.Generatedelectricityisfedinto
thetransmissiongridpoweredbycentralgenerationplants(gridconnectedorgrid
tiedplant),orcombinedwithone,ormany,domesticelectricitygeneratorstofeed
intoasmallelectricalgrid(hybridplant).Inrarecasesgeneratedelectricityis
storedoruseddirectlybyisland/standaloneplant.[20][21]PVsystemsaregenerally
designedinordertoensurethehighestenergyyieldforagiveninvestment.Some
largephotovoltaicpowerstationssuchasSolarStar,WaldpolenzSolarParkand
TopazSolarFarmcovertensorhundredsofhectaresandhavepoweroutputsupto
hundredsofmegawatts.

PerovoSolarParkinUkraine

Rooftop
Mainarticle:Rooftopphotovoltaicpowerstation
AsmallPVsystemiscapableofprovidingenoughACelectricitytopowerasingle
home,orevenanisolateddeviceintheformofACorDCelectric.Forexample,
militaryandcivilianEarthobservationsatellites,streetlights,constructionand
trafficsigns,electriccars,solarpoweredtents,[22]andelectricaircraftmaycontain
integratedphotovoltaicsystemstoprovideaprimaryorauxiliarypowersourcein
theformofACorDCpower,dependingonthedesignandpowerdemands.In
2013,rooftopsystemsaccountedfor60percentofworldwideinstallations.
However,thereisatrendawayfromrooftopandtowardsutilityscalePVsystems,
asthefocusofnewPVinstallationsisalsoshiftingfromEuropetocountriesinthe
sunbeltregionoftheplanetwhereoppositiontogroundmountedsolarfarmsis
lessaccentuated.[8]:43

RooftopsystemnearBoston,USA.

Buildingintegrated
Mainarticle:Buildingintegratedphotovoltaics
Inurbanandsuburbanareas,photovoltaicarraysarecommonlyusedonrooftopstosupplementpoweruseoftenthe
buildingwillhaveaconnectiontothepowergrid,inwhichcasetheenergyproducedbythePVarraycanbesoldbackto
theutilityinsomesortofnetmeteringagreement.Someutilities,suchasSolvayElectricinSolvay,NY,usetherooftops
ofcommercialcustomersandtelephonepolestosupporttheiruseofPVpanels.[23]Solartreesarearraysthat,asthename
implies,mimicthelookoftrees,provideshade,andatnightcanfunctionasstreetlights.
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Performance
Uncertaintiesinrevenueovertimerelatemostlytotheevaluationofthesolarresourceandtotheperformanceofthesystem
itself.Inthebestofcases,uncertaintiesaretypically4%foryeartoyearclimatevariability,5%forsolarresourceestimation(in
ahorizontalplane),3%forestimationofirradiationintheplaneofthearray,3%for
powerratingofmodules,2%forlossesduetodirtandsoiling,1.5%forlossesdueto
snow,and5%forothersourcesoferror.Identifyingandreactingtomanageablelossesis
criticalforrevenueandO&Mefficiency.Monitoringofarrayperformancemaybepart
ofcontractualagreementsbetweenthearrayowner,thebuilder,andtheutility
purchasingtheenergyproduced.Recently,amethodtocreate"syntheticdays"using
readilyavailableweatherdataandverificationusingtheOpenSolarOutdoorsTestField
makeitpossibletopredictphotovoltaicsystemsperformancewithhighdegreesof
accuracy.[24]Thismethodcanbeusedtothendeterminelossmechanismsonalocal
scalesuchasthosefromsnow[25][26]ortheeffectsofsurfacecoatings(e.g.
BAPVwallnearBarcelona,Spain
hydrophobicorhydrophilic)onsoilingorsnowlosses.[27]AccesstotheInternethas
allowedafurtherimprovementinenergymonitoringandcommunication.Dedicated
systemsareavailablefromanumberofvendors.ForsolarPVsystemthatusemicroinverters(panellevelDCtoAC
conversion),modulepowerdataisautomaticallyprovided.Somesystemsallowsettingperformancealertsthattrigger
phone/email/textwarningswhenlimitsarereached.Thesesolutionsprovidedataforthesystemownerandtheinstaller.
Installersareabletoremotelymonitormultipleinstallations,andseeataglancethestatusoftheirentireinstalledbase.

Components
Aphotovoltaicsystemforresidential,commercial,orindustrialenergysupplyconsistsof
thesolararrayandanumberofcomponentsoftensummarizedasthebalanceofsystem
(BOS).ThetermoriginatesfromthefactthatsomeBOScomponentsarebalancingthe
powergeneratingsubsystemofthesolararraywiththepowerusingside,theload.BOS
componentsincludepowerconditioningequipmentandstructuresformounting,
typicallyoneormoreDCtoACpowerconverters,alsoknownasinverters,anenergy
storagedevice,arackingsystemthatsupportsthesolararray,electricalwiringand
interconnections,andmountingforothercomponents.
Optionally,abalanceofsystemmayincludeanyorallofthefollowing:renewable
energycreditrevenuegrademeter,maximumpowerpointtracker(MPPT),battery
systemandcharger,GPSsolartracker,energymanagementsoftware,solarirradiance
sensors,anemometer,ortaskspecificaccessoriesdesignedtomeetspecialized
requirementsforasystemowner.Inaddition,aCPVsystemrequiresopticallensesor
mirrorsandsometimesacoolingsystem.
Theterms"solararray"and"PVsystem"areoftenusedinterchangeably,despitethefact
thatthesolararraydoesnotencompasstheentiresystem.Moreover,"solarpanel"is
oftenusedasasynonymfor"solarmodule",althoughapanelconsistsofastringof
severalmodules.Theterm"solarsystem"isalsoanoftenusedmisnomerforaPVsystem.

Thebalanceofsystemcomponentsof
aPVsystem(BOS)balancethe
powergeneratingsubsystemofthe
solararray(leftside)withthepower
usingsideoftheAChousehold
devicesandtheutilitygrid(right
side).

Solararray
Furtherinformation:PVmodule
ConventionalcSisolarcells,normallywiredinseries,areencapsulatedinasolarmoduletoprotectthemfromtheweather.The
moduleconsistsofatemperedglassascover,asoftandflexibleencapsulant,arearbacksheetmadeofaweatheringandfire
resistantmaterialandanaluminiumframearoundtheouteredge.Electricallyconnectedandmountedonasupportingstructure,
solarmodulesbuildastringofmodules,oftencalledsolarpanel.Asolararrayconsistsofoneormanysuchpanels.[28]A
photovoltaicarray,orsolararray,isalinkedcollectionofsolarpanels.Thepowerthatonemodulecanproduceisseldom
enoughtomeetrequirementsofahomeorabusiness,sothemodulesarelinkedtogethertoformanarray.MostPVarraysuse
aninvertertoconverttheDCpowerproducedbythemodulesintoalternatingcurrentthatcanpowerlights,motors,andother
loads.ThemodulesinaPVarrayareusuallyfirstconnectedinseriestoobtainthedesiredvoltagetheindividualstringsare
thenconnectedinparalleltoallowthesystemtoproducemorecurrent.SolarpanelsaretypicallymeasuredunderSTC(standard
testconditions)orPTC(PVUSAtestconditions),inwatts.[29]Typicalpanelratingsrangefromlessthan100wattstoover400
watts.[30]Thearrayratingconsistsofasummationofthepanelratings,inwatts,kilowatts,ormegawatts.
Moduleandefficiency
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Atypical"150watt"PVmoduleisaboutasquaremeterinsize.Suchamodulemaybeexpectedtoproduce0.75kilowatthour
(kWh)everyday,onaverage,aftertakingintoaccounttheweatherandthelatitude,foraninsolationof5sunhours/day.Inthe
last10years,theefficiencyofaveragecommercialwaferbasedcrystallinesiliconmodulesincreasedfromabout12%to16%
andCdTemoduleefficiencyincreasedfrom9%to13%duringsameperiod.Moduleoutputandlifedegradedbyincreased
temperature.Allowingambientairtoflowover,andifpossiblebehind,PVmodulesreducesthisproblem.Effectivemodule
livesaretypically25yearsormore.[31]ThepaybackperiodforaninvestmentinaPVsolarinstallationvariesgreatlyandis
typicallylessusefulthanacalculationofreturnoninvestment.[32]Whileitistypicallycalculatedtobebetween10and20years,
thefinancialpaybackperiodcanbefarshorterwithincentives.[33]
Duetothelowvoltageofanindividualsolarcell(typicallyca.0.5V),
severalcellsarewired(alsoseecopperusedinPVsystems)inseriesinthe
manufactureofa"laminate".Thelaminateisassembledintoaprotective
weatherproofenclosure,thusmakingaphotovoltaicmoduleorsolarpanel.
Modulesmaythenbestrungtogetherintoaphotovoltaicarray.In2012,
solarpanelsavailableforconsumerscanhaveanefficiencyofuptoabout
17%,[34]whilecommerciallyavailablepanelscangoasfaras27%.Ithas
beenrecordedthatagroupfromtheTheFraunhoferInstituteforSolar
EnergySystemshavecreatedacellthatcanreach44.7%efficiency,which
makesscientists'hopesofreachingthe50%efficiencythresholdalotmore
feasible.[35][36][37][38]
Shadinganddirt

Fixedtiltsolararrayinofcrystallinesiliconpanels
inCanterbury,NewHampshire,UnitedStates

Photovoltaiccellelectricaloutputisextremelysensitivetoshading.The
effectsofthisshadingarewellknown.[39][40][41]Whenevenasmallportion
ofacell,module,orarrayisshaded,whiletheremainderisinsunlight,the
outputfallsdramaticallyduetointernal'shortcircuiting'(theelectrons
reversingcoursethroughtheshadedportionofthepnjunction).Ifthe
currentdrawnfromtheseriesstringofcellsisnogreaterthanthecurrent
thatcanbeproducedbytheshadedcell,thecurrent(andsopower)
developedbythestringislimited.Ifenoughvoltageisavailablefromthe
restofthecellsinastring,currentwillbeforcedthroughthecellby
breakingdownthejunctionintheshadedportion.Thisbreakdownvoltagein
commoncellsisbetween10and30volts.Insteadofaddingtothepower
Solararrayofasolarfarmwithafewthousand
producedbythepanel,theshadedcellabsorbspower,turningitintoheat.
solarmodulesontheislandofMajorca,Spain
Sincethereversevoltageofashadedcellismuchgreaterthantheforward
voltageofanilluminatedcell,oneshadedcellcanabsorbthepowerofmany
othercellsinthestring,disproportionatelyaffectingpaneloutput.For
example,ashadedcellmaydrop8volts,insteadofadding0.5volts,ataparticularcurrentlevel,therebyabsorbingthepower
producedby16othercells.[42]Itis,thusimportantthataPVinstallationisnotshadedbytreesorotherobstructions.
SeveralmethodshavebeendevelopedtodetermineshadinglossesfromtreestoPVsystemsoverbothlargeregionsusing
LiDAR,[43]butalsoatanindividualsystemlevelusingsketchup.[44]Mostmoduleshavebypassdiodesbetweeneachcellor
stringofcellsthatminimizetheeffectsofshadingandonlylosethepoweroftheshadedportionofthearray.Themainjobof
thebypassdiodeistoeliminatehotspotsthatformoncellsthatcancausefurtherdamagetothearray,andcausefires.Sunlight
canbeabsorbedbydust,snow,orotherimpuritiesatthesurfaceofthemodule.Thiscanreducethelightthatstrikesthecells.In
generaltheselossesaggregatedovertheyeararesmallevenforlocationsinCanada.[25]Maintainingacleanmodulesurfacewill
increaseoutputperformanceoverthelifeofthemodule.Googlefoundthatcleaningtheflatmountedsolarpanelsafter15
monthsincreasedtheiroutputbyalmost100%,butthatthe5%tiltedarrayswereadequatelycleanedbyrainwater.[26][45]
Insolationandenergy

Globalsolarpotential

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaic_system

Solarinsolationismadeupofdirect,diffuse,andreflectedradiation.Theabsorption
factorofaPVcellisdenedasthefractionofincidentsolarirradiancethatisabsorbed
bythecell.[46]Athighnoononacloudlessdayattheequator,thepowerofthesunis
about1kW/m,[47]ontheEarth'ssurface,toaplanethatisperpendiculartothesun's
rays.Assuch,PVarrayscantrackthesunthrougheachdaytogreatlyenhanceenergy
collection.However,trackingdevicesaddcost,andrequiremaintenance,soitismore
commonforPVarraystohavefixedmountsthattiltthearrayandfacesolarnoon
(approximatelyduesouthintheNorthernHemisphereorduenorthintheSouthern
Hemisphere).Thetiltangle,fromhorizontal,canbevariedforseason,[48]butiffixed,
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shouldbesettogiveoptimalarrayoutputduringthepeakelectricaldemandportionofatypicalyearforastandalonesystem.
Thisoptimalmoduletiltangleisnotnecessarilyidenticaltothetiltangleformaximumannualarrayenergyoutput.[49]The
optimizationoftheaphotovoltaicsystemforaspecificenvironmentcanbecomplicatedasissuesofsolarflux,soiling,and
snowlossesshouldbetakenintoeffect.Inaddition,recentworkhasshownthatspectraleffectscanplayaroleinoptimal
photovoltaicmaterialselection.Forexample,thespectralalbedocanplayasignificantroleinoutputdependingonthesurface
aroundthephotovoltaicsystem[50]andthetypeofsolarcellmaterial.[51]FortheweatherandlatitudesoftheUnitedStatesand
Europe,typicalinsolationrangesfrom4kWh/m/dayinnorthernclimesto6.5kWh/m/dayinthesunniestregions.A
photovoltaicinstallationinthesouthernlatitudesofEuropeortheUnitedStatesmayexpecttoproduce1kWh/m/day.Atypical
1kWphotovoltaicinstallationinAustraliaorthesouthernlatitudesofEuropeorUnitedStates,mayproduce3.55kWhper
day,dependentonlocation,orientation,tilt,insolationandotherfactors.[52]IntheSaharadesert,withlesscloudcoveranda
bettersolarangle,onecouldideallyobtaincloserto8.3kWh/m/dayprovidedthenearlyeverpresentwindwouldnotblowsand
ontotheunits.TheareaoftheSaharadesertisover9millionkm.90,600km,orabout1%,couldgenerateasmuchelectricity
asalloftheworld'spowerplantscombined.[53]

Mounting
Mainarticle:Photovoltaicmountingsystem
Modulesareassembledintoarraysonsomekindofmountingsystem,whichmaybe
classifiedasgroundmount,roofmountorpolemount.Forsolarparksalargerackis
mountedontheground,andthemodulesmountedontherack.Forbuildings,many
differentrackshavebeendevisedforpitchedroofs.Forflatroofs,racks,binsand
buildingintegratedsolutionsareused.Solarpanelracksmountedontopofpolescanbe
stationaryormoving,seeTrackersbelow.Sideofpolemountsaresuitableforsituations
whereapolehassomethingelsemountedatitstop,suchasalightfixtureoranantenna.
Polemountingraiseswhatwouldotherwisebeagroundmountedarrayaboveweed
shadowsandlivestock,andmaysatisfyelectricalcoderequirementsregarding
inaccessibilityofexposedwiring.Polemountedpanelsareopentomorecoolingairon
theirunderside,whichincreasesperformance.Amultiplicityofpoletoprackscanbe
formedintoaparkingcarportorothershadestructure.Arackwhichdoesnotfollowthe
sunfromlefttorightmayallowseasonaladjustmentupordown.

Cabling

A23yearold,groundmountedPV
systemfromthe1980sonaNorth
FrisianIsland,Germany.The
modulesconversionefficiencywas
only12%.

Mainarticles:SolarcableandElectricalwiring
Duetotheiroutdoorusage,solarcablesarespecificallydesignedtoberesistantagainstUVradiationandextremelyhigh
temperaturefluctuationsandaregenerallyunaffectedbytheweather.Anumberofstandardsspecifytheusageofelectrical
wiringinPVsystems,suchastheIEC60364bytheInternationalElectrotechnicalCommission,insection712"Solar
photovoltaic(PV)powersupplysystems",theBritishStandardBS7671,incorporatingregulationsrelatingtomicrogeneration
andphotovoltaicsystems,andtheUSUL4703standard,insubject4703"PhotovoltaicWire".

Tracker
Mainarticle:Solartracker

A1998modelofapassivesolar
tracker,viewedfromunderneath.

Asolartrackingsystemtiltsasolarpanelthroughouttheday.Dependingonthetypeof
trackingsystem,thepaneliseitheraimeddirectlyatthesunorthebrightestareaofapartly
cloudedsky.Trackersgreatlyenhanceearlymorningandlateafternoonperformance,
increasingthetotalamountofpowerproducedbyasystembyabout2025%forasingle
axistrackerandabout30%ormoreforadualaxistracker,dependingonlatitude.[54][55]
Trackersareeffectiveinregionsthatreceivealargeportionofsunlightdirectly.Indiffuse
light(i.e.undercloudorfog),trackinghaslittleornovalue.Becausemostconcentrated
photovoltaicssystemsareverysensitivetothesunlight'sangle,trackingsystemsallowthem
toproduceusefulpowerformorethanabriefperiodeachday.[56]Trackingsystems
improveperformancefortwomainreasons.First,whenasolarpanelisperpendiculartothe
sunlight,itreceivesmorelightonitssurfacethanifitwereangled.Second,directlightis
usedmoreefficientlythanangledlight.SpecialAntireflectivecoatingscanimprovesolar
panelefficiencyfordirectandangledlight,somewhatreducingthebenefitoftracking.[57]

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Trackersandsensorstooptimisetheperformanceareoftenseenasoptional,buttrackingsystemscanincreaseviableoutputby
upto45%.[58]PVarraysthatapproachorexceedonemegawattoftenusesolartrackers.Accountingforclouds,andthefactthat
mostoftheworldisnotontheequator,andthatthesunsetsintheevening,thecorrectmeasureofsolarpowerisinsolation
theaveragenumberofkilowatthourspersquaremeterperday.FortheweatherandlatitudesoftheUnitedStatesandEurope,
typicalinsolationrangesfrom2.26kWh/m/dayinnorthernclimesto5.61kWh/m/dayinthesunniestregions.[59][60]
Forlargesystems,theenergygainedbyusingtrackingsystemscanoutweightheaddedcomplexity(trackerscanincrease
efficiencyby30%ormore).Forverylargesystems,theaddedmaintenanceoftrackingisasubstantialdetriment.[61]Trackingis
notrequiredforflatpanelandlowconcentrationphotovoltaicsystems.Forhighconcentrationphotovoltaicsystems,dualaxis
trackingisanecessity.[62]Pricingtrendsaffectthebalancebetweenaddingmorestationarysolarpanelsversushavingfewer
panelsthattrack.Whensolarpanelpricesdrop,trackersbecomealessattractiveoption.

Inverter
Mainarticles:Solarinverter,SolarmicroinverterandPowerinverter
Systemsdesignedtodeliveralternatingcurrent(AC),suchasgridconnectedapplications
needaninvertertoconvertthedirectcurrent(DC)fromthesolarmodulestoAC.Grid
connectedinvertersmustsupplyACelectricityinsinusoidalform,synchronizedtothe
gridfrequency,limitfeedinvoltagetonohigherthanthegridvoltageanddisconnect
fromthegridifthegridvoltageisturnedoff.[63]Islandinginvertersneedonlyproduce
regulatedvoltagesandfrequenciesinasinusoidalwaveshapeasnosynchronisationor
coordinationwithgridsuppliesisrequired.

Stringinverter(left),generation
meter,andACdisconnect(right).A
modern2013installationinVermont,
UnitedStates.

Asolarinvertermayconnecttoastringofsolar
panels.Insomeinstallationsasolarmicro
inverterisconnectedateachsolarpanel.[64]For
safetyreasonsacircuitbreakerisprovidedboth
ontheACandDCsidetoenablemaintenance.
ACoutputmaybeconnectedthroughan
electricitymeterintothepublicgrid.[65]The
numberofmodulesinthesystemdeterminesthe
totalDCwattscapableofbeinggeneratedbythe
solararrayhowever,theinverterultimately
governstheamountofACwattsthatcanbe
distributedforconsumption.Forexample,aPV
systemcomprising11kilowattsDC(kWDC)

CentralinverterwithACandDC
disconnects(ontheside),monitoring
gateway,transformerisolationand
interactiveLCD.

worthofPVmodules,pairedwithone10kilowattAC(kWAC)inverter,willbelimitedtotheinverter'soutputof10kW.Asof
2014,conversionefficiencyforstateoftheartconvertersreachedmorethan98percent.Whilestringinvertersareusedin
residentialtomediumsizedcommercialPVsystems,centralinverterscoverthelargecommercialandutilityscalemarket.
Marketshareforcentralandstringinvertersareabout50percentand48percent,respectively,leavinglessthan2percentto
microinverters.[66]
Maximumpowerpointtracking(MPPT)isatechniquethatgridconnectedinvertersusetogetthemaximumpossiblepower
fromthephotovoltaicarray.Inordertodoso,theinverter'sMPPTsystemdigitallysamplesthesolararray'severchanging
poweroutputandappliestheproperresistancetofindtheoptimalmaximumpowerpoint.[67]
AntiislandingisaprotectionmechanismthatimmediatelyshutsdowntheinverterpreventingitfromgeneratingACpower
whentheconnectiontotheloadnolongerexists.Thishappens,forexample,inthecaseofablackout.Withoutthisprotection,
thesupplylinewouldbecomean"island"withpowersurroundedbya"sea"ofunpoweredlines,asthesolararraycontinuesto
deliverDCpowerduringthepoweroutage.Islandingisahazardtoutilityworkers,whomaynotrealizethatanACcircuitis
stillpowered,anditmaypreventautomaticreconnectionofdevices.[68]

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Type

Power

String
inverter

upto
100kWp(c)

Central
inverter

Inverter/ConverterMarketin2014
Market
Efficiency(a)
Share(b)

Remarks

98%

50%

Cost(b)0.15perwattpeak.Easytoreplace.

above100kWp

98.5%

48%

0.10perwattpeak.Highreliability.Often
soldalongwithaservicecontract.

Micro
inverter

modulepower
range

90%95%

1.5%

0.40perwattpeak.Easeofreplacement
concerns.

DC/DC
converter
Power
optimizer

modulepower
range

98.8%

n.a.

0.40perwattpeak.Easeofreplacement
concerns.Inverterisstillneeded.About0.75
GWPinstalledin2013.

Source:databyIHS2014,remarksbyFraunhoferISE2014,from:PhotovoltaicsReport,updatedasper8September
2014,p.35,PDF[66]
Notes:(a)bestefficienciesdisplayed,(b)marketshareandcostperwattareestimated,(c)kWp=kilowattpeak

Battery
Mainarticles:RechargeablebatteryandBattery(electricity)
Althoughstillexpensive,PVsystemsincreasinglyuserechargeablebatteriestostoreasurplusto
belaterusedatnight.Batteriesusedforgridstoragealsostabilizetheelectricalgridbyleveling
outpeakloads,andplayanimportantroleinasmartgrid,astheycanchargeduringperiodsof
lowdemandandfeedtheirstoredenergyintothegridwhendemandishigh.
Commonbatterytechnologiesusedintoday'sPVsystemsincludethevalveregulatedleadacid
batteryamodifiedversionoftheconventionalleadacidbattery,nickelcadmiumandlithium
ionbatteries.Comparedtotheothertypes,leadacidbatterieshaveashorterlifetimeandlower
energydensity.However,duetotheirhighreliability,lowselfdischargeaswellaslow
investmentandmaintenancecosts,theyarecurrentlythepredominanttechnologyusedinsmall
scale,residentialPVsystems,aslithiumionbatteriesarestillbeingdevelopedandabout3.5
timesasexpensiveasleadacidbatteries.Furthermore,asstoragedevicesforPVsystemsare
stationary,thelowerenergyandpowerdensityandthereforehigherweightofleadacidbatteries
arenotascriticalas,forexample,inelectrictransportation[9]:4,9Otherrechargeablebatteriesthat
areconsideredfordistributedPVsystemsincludesodiumsulfurandvanadiumredoxbatteries,
twoprominenttypesofamoltensaltandaflowbattery,respectively.[9]:4In2015,Teslamotors
launchedthePowerwall,arechargeablelithiumionbatterywiththeaimtorevolutionizeenergy
consumption.[69]

Acomputergeneratedimage
oftheTeslaPowerwall

PVsystemswithanintegratedbatterysolutionalsoneedachargecontroller,asthevaryingvoltageandcurrentfromthesolar
arrayrequiresconstantadjustmenttopreventdamagefromovercharging.[70]BasicchargecontrollersmaysimplyturnthePV
panelsonandoff,ormaymeteroutpulsesofenergyasneeded,astrategycalledPWMorpulsewidthmodulation.More
advancedchargecontrollerswillincorporateMPPTlogicintotheirbatterychargingalgorithms.Chargecontrollersmayalso
divertenergytosomepurposeotherthanbatterycharging.RatherthansimplyshutoffthefreePVenergywhennotneeded,a
usermaychoosetoheatairorwateroncethebatteryisfull.

Monitoringandmetering
Mainarticles:Netmetering,EnergymeteringandSmartmeter
Themeteringmustbeabletoaccumulateenergyunitsinbothdirectionsortwometersmustbeused.Manymetersaccumulate
bidirectionally,somesystemsusetwometers,butaunidirectionalmeter(withdetent)willnotaccumulateenergyfromany
resultantfeedintothegrid.[71]Insomecountries,forinstallationsover30kWpafrequencyandavoltagemonitorwith
disconnectionofallphasesisrequired.Thisisdonewheremoresolarpowerisbeinggeneratedthancanbeaccommodatedby
theutility,andtheexcesscannoteitherbeexportedorstored.Gridoperatorshistoricallyhaveneededtoprovidetransmission
linesandgenerationcapacity.Nowtheyneedtoalsoprovidestorage.Thisisnormallyhydrostorage,butothermeansofstorage
areused.Initiallystoragewasusedsothatbaseloadgeneratorscouldoperateatfulloutput.Withvariablerenewableenergy,
storageisneededtoallowpowergenerationwheneveritisavailable,andconsumptionwheneveritisneeded.
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Thetwovariablesagridoperatorhavearestoringelectricityforwhenitisneeded,or
transmittingittowhereitisneeded.Ifbothofthosefail,installationsover30kWpcan
automaticallyshutdown,althoughinpracticeallinvertersmaintainvoltageregulation
andstopsupplyingpoweriftheloadisinadequate.Gridoperatorshavetheoptionof
curtailingexcessgenerationfromlargesystems,althoughthisismorecommonlydone
withwindpowerthansolarpower,andresultsinasubstantiallossofrevenue.[72]Three
phaseinvertershavetheuniqueoptionofsupplyingreactivepowerwhichcanbe
advantageousinmatchingloadrequirements.[73]
Photovoltaicsystemsneedtobemonitoredtodetectbreakdownandoptimizetheir
operation.Thereareseveralphotovoltaicmonitoringstrategiesdependingontheoutput
oftheinstallationanditsnature.Monitoringcanbeperformedonsiteorremotely.Itcan
measureproductiononly,retrieveallthedatafromtheinverterorretrieveallofthedatafromthecommunicatingequipment
(probes,meters,etc.).Monitoringtoolscanbededicatedtosupervisiononlyorofferadditionalfunctions.Individualinverters
andbatterychargecontrollersmayincludemonitoringusingmanufacturerspecificprotocolsandsoftware.[74]Energymetering
ofaninvertermaybeoflimitedaccuracyandnotsuitableforrevenuemeteringpurposes.Athirdpartydataacquisitionsystem
canmonitormultipleinverters,usingtheinvertermanufacturer'sprotocols,andalsoacquireweatherrelatedinformation.
IndependentsmartmetersmaymeasurethetotalenergyproductionofaPVarraysystem.Separatemeasuressuchassatellite
imageanalysisorasolarradiationmeter(apyranometer)canbeusedtoestimatetotalinsolationforcomparison.[75]Data
collectedfromamonitoringsystemcanbedisplayedremotelyovertheWorldWideWeb,suchasOSOTF.[76][77][78][79]
ACanadianelectricitymeter

Othersystems
Thissectionincludessystemsthatareeitherhighlyspecializedanduncommonorstillanemergingnewtechnologywithlimited
significance.However,standaloneoroffgridsystemstakeaspecialplace.Theywerethemostcommontypeofsystemsduring
the1980sand1990s,whenPVtechnologywasstillveryexpensiveandapurenichemarketofsmallscaleapplications.Onlyin
placeswherenoelectricalgridwasavailable,theywereeconomicallyviable.Althoughnewstandalonesystemsarestillbeing
deployedallaroundtheworld,theircontributiontotheoverallinstalledphotovoltaiccapacityisdecreasing.InEurope,offgrid
systemsaccountfor1percentofinstalledcapacity.IntheUnitedStates,theyaccountforabout10percent.Offgridsystemsare
stillcommoninAustraliaandSouthKorea,andinmanydevelopingcountries.[8]:14

CPV
Mainarticle:Concentratorphotovoltaics
Concentratorphotovoltaics(CPV)andhighconcentratorphotovoltaic(HCPV)systems
useopticallensesorcurvedmirrorstoconcentratesunlightontosmallbuthighly
efficientsolarcells.Besidesconcentratingoptics,CPVsystemssometimeusesolar
trackersandcoolingsystemsandaremoreexpensive.
EspeciallyHCPVsystemsarebestsuitedinlocationwithhighsolarirradiance,
concentratingsunlightupto400timesormore,withefficienciesof2428percent,
exceedingthoseofregularsystems.VariousdesignsofCPVandHCPVsystemsare
commerciallyavailablebutnotverycommon.However,ongoingresearchand
developmentistakingplace.[1]:26
CPVisoftenconfusedwithCSP(concentratedsolarpower)thatdoesnotuse
photovoltaics.Bothtechnologiesfavorlocationsthatreceivemuchsunlightandare
directlycompetingwitheachother.

Concentratorphotovoltaic(CPV)in
Catalonia,Spain

Hybrid
AhybridsystemcombinesPVwithotherformsofgeneration,usuallyadieselgenerator.Biogasisalsoused.Theotherformof
generationmaybeatypeabletomodulatepoweroutputasafunctionofdemand.Howevermorethanonerenewableformof
energymaybeusede.g.wind.Thephotovoltaicpowergenerationservestoreducetheconsumptionofnonrenewablefuel.
Hybridsystemsaremostoftenfoundonislands.PellwormislandinGermanyandKythnosislandinGreecearenotable
examples(botharecombinedwithwind).[80][81]TheKythnosplanthasreduceddieselconsumptionby11.2%.[82]
In2015,acasestudyconductedinsevencountriesconcludedthatinallcasesgeneratingcostscanbereducedbyhybridising
minigridsandisolatedgrids.However,financingcostsforsuchhybridsarecrucialandlargelydependontheownership
structureofthepowerplant.Whilecostreductionsforstateownedutilitiescanbesignificant,thestudyalsoidentifiedeconomic
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benefitstobeinsignificantorevennegativefornonpublicutilities,suchasindependentpowerproducers.[83][84]
TherehasalsobeenrecentworkshowingthatthePVpenetrationlimitcanbeincreasedbydeployingadistributednetworkof
PV+CHPhybridsystemsintheU.S.[85]Thetemporaldistributionofsolarflux,electricalandheatingrequirementsfor
representativeU.S.singlefamilyresidenceswereanalyzedandtheresultsclearlyshowthathybridizingCHPwithPVcan
enableadditionalPVdeploymentabovewhatispossiblewithaconventionalcentralizedelectricgenerationsystem.Thistheory
wasreconfirmedwithnumericalsimulationsusingpersecondsolarfluxdatatodeterminethatthenecessarybatterybackupto
provideforsuchahybridsystemispossiblewithrelativelysmallandinexpensivebatterysystems.[86]Inaddition,large
PV+CHPsystemsarepossibleforinstitutionalbuildings,whichagainprovidebackup
forintermittentPVandreduceCHPruntime.[87]
PVTsystem(hybridPV/T),alsoknownasphotovoltaicthermalhybridsolar
collectorsconvertsolarradiationintothermalandelectricalenergy.Suchasystem
combinesasolar(PV)modulewithasolarthermalcollectorinancomplementary
way.
CPVTsystem.Aconcentratedphotovoltaicthermalhybrid(CPVT)systemis
similartoaPVTsystem.Itusesconcentratedphotovoltaics(CPV)insteadof
conventionalPVtechnology,andcombinesitwithasolarthermalcollector.
CPV/CSPsystem.AnovelsolarCPV/CSPhybridsystemhasbeenproposed
recently,combiningconcentratorphotovoltaicswiththenonPVtechnologyof
concentratedsolarpower(CSP),oralsoknownasconcentratedsolarthermal.[88]
PVdieselsystem.Itcombinesaphotovoltaicsystemwithadieselgenerator.[89]
Combinationswithotherrenewablesarepossibleandincludewindturbines.[90]

AwindsolarPVhybridsystem

Floatovoltaics
FloatovoltaicsarePVsystemsthatfloatonthesurfaceofdrinkingwaterreservoirs,quarrylakes,irrigationcanalsor
remediationandtailingponds.AsmallnumberofsuchsystemsexistinFrance,India,Japan,Korea,theUnitedKingdomand
theUnitedStates.[91][92][93][94]
InMay2008,theFarNienteWineryinOakville,California,pioneeredtheworld'sfirstfloatovoltaicsystembyinstalling994
solarPVmoduleswithatotalcapacityof477kWonto130pontoonsandfloatingthemonthewinery'sirrigationpond.[95]The
primarybenefitofsuchasystemisthatitavoidstheneedtosacrificevaluablelandareathatcouldbeusedforanotherpurpose.
InthecaseoftheFarNienteWinery,itsavedthreequartersofanacrethatwouldhavebeenrequiredforalandbased
system.[96]Anotherbenefitofafloatovoltaicsystemisthatthepanelsarekeptatacoolertemperaturethantheywouldbeon
land,leadingtoahigherefficiencyofsolarenergyconversion.ThefloatingPVarrayalsoreducestheamountofwaterlost
throughevaporationandinhibitsthegrowthofalgae.[97]
UtilityscalefloatingPVfarmsarestartingtobebuilt.ThemultinationalelectronicsandceramicsmanufacturerKyocerawill
developtheworld'slargest,a13.4MWfarmonthereservoiraboveYamakuraDaminChibaPrefecture[98]using50,000solar
panels.[99]ItisexpectedtobeonlineinMarch2016.Saltwaterresistantfloatingfarmsarealsobeingconstructedforocean
use.[100]Thelargestsofarannouncedfloatovoltaicprojectisa350MWpowerstationintheAmazonregionofBrazil.[101]

Directcurrentgrid
DCgridsarefoundinelectricpoweredtransport:railwaystramsandtrolleybuses.Afewpilotplantsforsuchapplicationshave
beenbuilt,suchasthetramdepotsinHannoverLeinhausen,usingphotovoltaiccontributors[102]andGeneva(Bachetde
Pesay).[103]The150kWpGenevasitefeeds600VDCdirectlyintothetram/trolleybuselectricitynetworkwhereasbeforeit
providedabout15%oftheelectricityatitsopeningin1999.

Standalone
Astandaloneoroffgridsystemisnotconnectedtotheelectricalgrid.Standalonesystemsvarywidelyinsizeandapplication
fromwristwatchesorcalculatorstoremotebuildingsorspacecraft.Iftheloadistobesuppliedindependentlyofsolarinsolation,
thegeneratedpowerisstoredandbufferedwithabattery.Innonportableapplicationswhereweightisnotanissue,suchasin
buildings,leadacidbatteriesaremostcommonlyusedfortheirlowcostandtoleranceforabuse.
Achargecontrollermaybeincorporatedinthesystemtoavoidbatterydamagebyexcessivechargingordischarging.Itmay
alsohelptooptimizeproductionfromthesolararrayusingamaximumpowerpointtrackingtechnique(MPPT).However,in
simplePVsystemswherethePVmodulevoltageismatchedtothebatteryvoltage,theuseofMPPTelectronicsisgenerally
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consideredunnecessary,sincethebatteryvoltageisstableenough
toprovidenearmaximumpowercollectionfromthePVmodule.
Insmalldevices(e.g.calculators,parkingmeters)onlydirect
current(DC)isconsumed.Inlargersystems(e.g.buildings,
remotewaterpumps)ACisusuallyrequired.ToconverttheDC
fromthemodulesorbatteriesintoAC,aninverterisused.
Inagriculturalsettings,thearraymaybeusedtodirectlypower
DCpumps,withouttheneedforaninverter.Inremotesettings
suchasmountainousareas,islands,orotherplaceswhereapower
gridisunavailable,solararrayscanbeusedasthesolesourceof
electricity,usuallybychargingastoragebattery.Standalone
systemscloselyrelatetomicrogenerationanddistributed
generation.

AnisolatedmountainhutinCatalonia,
Spain

Solarparkingmeter
inEdinburgh,
Scotland

PicoPVsystems
Thesmallest,oftenportablephotovoltaicsystemsarecalledpicosolarPVsystems,orpicosolar.Theymostlycombinea
rechargeablebatteryandchargecontroller,withaverysmallPVpanel.Thepanel'snominalcapacityisjustafewwatt
peak(110Wp)anditsarealessthanatenthofasquaremeter,oronesquarefoot,insize.Alargerangeofdifferent
applicationscanbesolarpoweredsuchasmusicplayers,fans,portablelamps,securitylights,solarlightingkits,solar
lanternsandstreetlight(seebelow),phonechargers,radios,orevensmall,seveninchLCDtelevisions,thatrunonless
thantenwatts.Asitisthecaseforpowergenerationfrompicohydro,picoPVsystemsareusefulinsmall,rural
communitiesthatrequireonlyasmallamountofelectricity.Sincetheefficiencyofmanyapplianceshaveimproved
considerably,inparticularduetotheusageofLEDlightsandefficientrechargeablebatteries,picosolarhasbecomean
affordablealternative,especiallyinthedevelopingworld.[104]Themetricprefixpicostandsforatrillionthtoindicatethe
smallnessofthesystem'selectricpower.
Solarstreetlights
Solarstreetlightsraisedlightsourceswhicharepoweredbyphotovoltaicpanelsgenerallymountedonthelighting
structure.ThesolararrayofsuchoffgridPVsystemchargesarechargeablebattery,whichpowersafluorescentorLED
lampduringthenight.Solarstreetlightsarestandalonepowersystems,andhavetheadvantageofsavingsontrenching,
landscaping,andmaintenancecosts,aswellasontheelectricbills,despitetheirhigherinitialcostcomparedto
conventionalstreetlighting.Theyaredesignedwithsufficientlylargebatteriestoensureoperationforatleastaweekand
evenintheworstsituation,theyareexpectedtodimonlyslightly.
Telecommunicationandsignaling
SolarPVpowerisideallysuitedfortelecommunicationapplicationssuchaslocaltelephoneexchange,radioandTV
broadcasting,microwaveandotherformsofelectroniccommunicationlinks.Thisisbecause,inmosttelecommunication
application,storagebatteriesarealreadyinuseandtheelectricalsystemisbasicallyDC.Inhillyandmountainousterrain,
radioandTVsignalsmaynotreachastheygetblockedorreflectedbackduetoundulatingterrain.Attheselocations,low
powertransmittersareinstalledtoreceiveandretransmitthesignalforlocalpopulation.[105]
Solarvehicles
Solarvehicle,whetherground,water,airorspacevehiclesmayobtainsomeoralloftheenergyrequiredfortheir
operationfromthesun.Surfacevehiclesgenerallyrequirehigherpowerlevelsthancanbesustainedbyapracticallysized
solararray,soabatteryisusedtomeetpeakpowerdemand,andthesolararrayrechargesit.Spacevehicleshave
successfullyusedsolarphotovoltaicsystemsforyearsofoperation,eliminatingtheweightoffuelorprimarybatteries.
Solarpumps
Oneofthemostcosteffectivesolarapplicationsisasolarpoweredpump,asitisfarcheapertopurchaseasolarpanel
thanitistorunpowerlines.[106][107][108]Theyoftenmeetaneedforwaterbeyondthereachofpowerlines,takingthe
placeofawindmillorwindpump.Onecommonapplicationisthefillingoflivestockwateringtanks,sothatgrazingcattle
maydrink.Anotheristherefillingofdrinkingwaterstoragetanksonremoteorselfsufficienthomes.
Spacecrafts
SolarpanelsonspacecrafthavebeenoneofthefirstapplicationsofphotovoltaicssincethelaunchofVanguard1in1958,
thefirstsatellitetousesolarcells.ContrarytoSputnik,thefirstartificialsatellitetoorbittheplanet,thatranoutof
batterieswithin21daysduetothelackofsolarpower,mostmoderncommunicationssatellitesandspaceprobesinthe
innersolarsystemrelyontheuseofsolarpanelstoderiveelectricityfromsunlight.[109][110]
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Doityourselfcommunity
Withagrowinginterestinenvironmentallyfriendlygreenenergy,anincreasingnumberofhobbyistsintheDIY
communityhaveendeavoredtobuildtheirownsolarPVsystemsfromkits[111]orpartlyDIY.[112]Usually,theDIY
communityusesinexpensive[113]orhighefficiencysystems[114](suchasthosewithsolartracking)togeneratetheirown
power.Asaresult,theDIYsystemsoftenendupcheaperthantheircommercialcounterparts.[115]Often,thesystemis
alsohookedupintotheregularpowergrid,usingnetmeteringinsteadofabatteryforbackup.Thesesystemsusually
generatepoweramountof~2kWorless.Throughtheinternet,thecommunityisnowabletoobtainplansto(partly)
constructthesystemandthereisagrowingtrendtowardbuildingthemfordomesticrequirements.
Galleryofstandalonesystems
Seealso:ListofsolarpoweredproductsandStandalonepowersystem

Profilepictureofamobile
solarpoweredgenerator

Solarpanelsonasmallyacht
tocharge12voltbatteriesup
to9amps

Artist'sconceptoftheJuno
spacecraftorbitingJupiter

Amobilechargingstationfor
electricvehiclesinFrance

Alateral
mark,Otago
Harbour,NZ

Asolarpoweredrepeaterused
intelecommunications

Solarpoweredelectricfence,in
HarwoodNorthumberland,UK.

PoweringaYurtinMongolia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaic_system

Solarsailorboat,DarlingHarbour,
Sydney,Australia.

Asolarcalculator

Asolarnavigation
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Solarpathwaylightinginwinter
(SteamboatSprings,US).

Solarpoweredlighthousein
Scotland

Solarcar.TheJapanesewinnerof
2009WorldSolarChallengein
Australia.

Asmallsolarwaterpumpsystem

Asolarcellphonecharger

Asolarpowered
trashcompactor,
JerseyCity,U.S.

Asolarfan

Asolarsewagetreatmentplant
inSantuarideLluc,Spain

Solarpowered
watch

SolarImpulse,anelectricaircraft

Rentalstationforebikes,
Budapest,Hungary

Costsandeconomy
Thecostofproducingphotovotaiccellshavedroppedduetoeconomiesofscaleinproductionandtechnologicaladvancesin
manufacturing.Forlargescaleinstallations,pricesbelow$1.00perwattarenowcommon.[118]Apricedecreaseof50%had
beenachievedinEuropefrom2006to2011andthereisapotentialtolowerthegenerationcostby50%by2020.[119]Crystal
siliconsolarcellshavelargelybeenreplacedbylessexpensivemulticrystallinesiliconsolarcells,andthinfilmsiliconsolar
cellshavealsobeendevelopedrecentlyatlowercostsofproduction.Althoughtheyarereducedinenergyconversionefficiency
fromsinglecrystalline"siwafers",theyarealsomucheasiertoproduceatcomparablylowercosts.[120]
ThetablebelowshowsthetotalcostinUScentsperkWhofelectricitygeneratedbyaphotovoltaicsystem.[121][122]Therow
headingsontheleftshowthetotalcost,perpeakkilowatt(kWp),ofaphotovoltaicinstallation.Photovoltaicsystemcostshave
beendecliningandinGermany,forexample,werereportedtohavefallentoUSD1389/kWpbytheendof2014.[123]The
columnheadingsacrossthetoprefertotheannualenergyoutputinkWhexpectedfromeachinstalledkWp.Thisvariesby
geographicregionbecausetheaverageinsolationdependsontheaveragecloudinessandthethicknessofatmospheretraversed
bythesunlight.Italsodependsonthepathofthesunrelativetothepanelandthehorizon.Panelsareusuallymountedatan
anglebasedonlatitude,andoftentheyareadjustedseasonallytomeetthechangingsolardeclination.Solartrackingcanalsobe
utilizedtoaccessevenmoreperpendicularsunlight,therebyraisingthetotalenergyoutput.
ThecalculatedvaluesinthetablereflectthetotalcostincentsperkWhproduced.Theyassumea10%totalcapitalcost(for
instance4%interestrate,1%operatingandmaintenancecost,[124]anddepreciationofthecapitaloutlayover20years).
Normally,photovoltaicmoduleshavea25yearwarranty.[125][126]
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Medianinstalledsystempricesfor
residentialPVSystemsinJapan,
GermanyandtheUnitedStates($/W)

Historyofsolarrooftoppricessince2006.
ComparisoninUS$perinstalled
watt. [116][117]
Japan
UnitedStates
Germany

CostofgeneratedkilowatthourbyaPVSystem(US/kWh)
dependingonsolarradiationandinstallationcostduring20yearsofoperation
Installation
costin
$perwatt

InsolationannuallygeneratedkilowatthoursperinstalledkWcapacity(kWh/kWpy)
2400

2200

2000

1800

1600

1400

1200

1000

800

$0.20

0.8

0.9

1.0

1.1

1.3

1.4

1.7

2.0

2.5

$0.60

2.5

2.7

3.0

3.3

3.8

4.3

5.0

6.0

7.5

$1.00

4.2

4.5

5.0

5.6

6.3

7.1

8.3

10.0

12.5

$1.40

5.8

6.4

7.0

7.8

8.8

10.0

11.7

14.0

17.5

$1.80

7.5

8.2

9.0

10.0

11.3

12.9

15.0

18.0

22.5

$2.20

9.2

10.0

11.0

12.2

13.8

15.7

18.3

22.0

27.5

$2.60

10.8

11.8

13.0

14.4

16.3

18.6

21.7

26.0

32.5

$3.00

12.5

13.6

15.0

16.7

18.8

21.4

25.0

30.0

37.5

$3.40

14.2

15.5

17.0

18.9

21.3

24.3

28.3

34.0

42.5

$3.80

15.8

17.3

19.0

21.1

23.8

27.1

31.7

38.0

47.5

$4.20

17.5

19.1

21.0

23.3

26.3

30.0

35.0

42.0

52.5

$4.60

19.2

20.9

23.0

25.6

28.8

32.9

38.3

46.0

57.5

$5.00

20.8

22.7

25.0

27.8

31.3

35.7

41.7

50.0

62.5

USA

Japan

Germany Smallrooftopsystemcostandavg.insolationappliedtodatatable,in2013

Notes:
1. Costperwattforrooftopsystemin2013:Japan$4.64,[116]UnitedStates$4.92,[116]andGermany$2.05[117]
2. Generatedkilowatthourperinstalledwattpeak,basedonaverageinsolationforJapan(1500kWh/m/year),UnitedStates(5.0to5.5kWh/m/day),[127]
andGermany(1000to1200kWh/m/year).
3. A2013studybytheFraunhoferISEconcludesLCOEcostforasmallPVsystemtobe$0.16(0.12)ratherthan$0.22perkilowatthourasshownin
table(Germany).

Systemcost2013
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Inits2014editionofthe"TechnologyRoadmap:SolarPhotovoltaicEnergy"report,theInternationalEnergyAgency(IEA)
publishedpricesinUS$perwattforresidential,commercialandutilityscalePVsystemsforeightmajormarketsin2013.[7]
TypicalPVsystempricesin2013inselectedcountries(USD)
USD/W

Australia

China

France

Germany

Italy

Japan

United
Kingdom

United
States

Residential

1.8

1.5

4.1

2.4

2.8

4.2

2.8

4.9

Commercial

1.7

1.4

2.7

1.8

1.9

3.6

2.4

4.5

Utilityscale

2.0

1.4

2.2

1.4

1.5

2.9

1.9

3.3

Source:IEATechnologyRoadmap:SolarPhotovoltaicEnergyreport[7]:15

Regulation
Standardization
Increasinguseofphotovoltaicsystemsandintegrationofphotovoltaicpowerintoexistingstructuresandtechniquesofsupply
anddistributionincreasesthevalueofgeneralstandardsanddefinitionsforphotovoltaiccomponentsandsystems.Thestandards
arecompiledattheInternationalElectrotechnicalCommission(IEC)andapplytoefficiency,durabilityandsafetyofcells,
modules,simulationprograms,plugconnectorsandcables,mountingsystems,overallefficiencyofinvertersetc.[128]

Planningandpermit
Whilearticle690oftheNationalElectricCodeprovidesgeneralguidelinesfortheinstallationofphotovoltaicsystems,these
guidelinesmaybesupersededbylocallawsandregulations.Oftenapermitisrequirednecessitatingplansubmissionsand
structuralcalculationsbeforeworkmaybegin.Additionally,manylocalesrequiretheworktobeperformedundertheguidance
ofalicensedelectrician.CheckwiththelocalCity/CountyAHJ(AuthorityHavingJurisdiction)toensurecompliancewithany
applicablelawsorregulations.
IntheUnitedStates,theAuthorityHavingJurisdiction(AHJ)willreviewdesignsandissuepermits,beforeconstructioncan
lawfullybegin.ElectricalinstallationpracticesmustcomplywithstandardssetforthwithintheNationalElectricalCode(NEC)
andbeinspectedbytheAHJtoensurecompliancewithbuildingcode,electricalcode,andfiresafetycode.Jurisdictionsmay
requirethatequipmenthasbeentested,certified,listed,andlabeledbyatleastoneoftheNationallyRecognizedTesting
Laboratories(NRTL).Despitethecomplicatedinstallationprocess,arecentlistofsolarcontractorsshowsamajorityof
installationcompanieswerefoundedsince2000.[129]

Nationalregulations
UnitedKingdom
IntheUK,PVinstallationsaregenerallyconsideredpermitteddevelopmentanddon'trequireplanningpermission.Ifthe
propertyislistedorinadesignatedarea(NationalPark,AreaofOutstandingNaturalBeauty,SiteofSpecialScientificInterest
orNorfolkBroads)thenplanningpermissionisrequired.[130]
UnitedStates
IntheUS,manylocalitiesrequireapermittoinstallaphotovoltaicsystem.Agridtiedsystemnormallyrequiresalicensed
electriciantomaketheconnectionbetweenthesystemandthegridconnectedwiringofthebuilding.[131]Installerswhomeet
thesequalificationsarelocatedinalmosteverystate.[129]TheStateofCaliforniaprohibitshomeowners'associationsfrom
restrictingsolardevices.[132]
Spain
AlthoughSpainusesabout20%ofitsenergyviaphotovoltaicsascitiessuchasHuelvaandSevilleboastnearly3,000hoursof
sunshineperyear,SpainhasissuedasolartaxtoaccountforthedebtcreatedbytheinvestmentdonebytheSpanish
government.Thosewhodonotconnecttothegridcanfaceuptoafineof30millioneuros($40millionUSD).[133][134]

Seealso
Listofphotovoltaicpowerstations
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaic_system

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PhotovoltaicsystemWikipedia,thefreeencyclopedia

Listofrooftopphotovoltaicinstallations
Photovoltaicpowerstations
Renewableenergy
Rooftopphotovoltaicpowerstation
Solarenergy
Solarvehicle

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SolarPanels(http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/permission/commonprojects/solarpanels/).PlanningPortal.Retrievedon20130717.
"RequirementsforSolarInstallations".bootsontheroof.com.2011.RetrievedMarch31,2011.
"CaliforniaSolarRightsAct".RetrievedFebruary25,2012.
Hunt,Tam."SpainandPortugalLeadtheWayonRenewableEnergyTransformation".RenewableEnergyWorld.
PhillipsErb,Kelly(19August2013)."OutOfIdeasAndInDebt,SpainSetsSightsOnTaxingTheSun".Forbes.Retrieved
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Externallinks
Solar/PhotovoltaicResource(http://sunmetrix.com)
PhotovoltaicEnergyFactsheet(http://css.snre.umich.edu/css_doc/CSS0708.pdf)bytheUniversityofMichigan'sCenter
forSustainableSystems(http://www.css.snre.umich.edu/)
HomePowerMagazinehttp://www.homepower.com/
Solarprojectmanagement(http://www.vectorcuatro.es/index.php?
option=com_content&view=article&id=150&Itemid=218&lang=en)
PhotovoltaicSystemsEngineering(http://www.renovierungeneupen.be/PhotovoltaikSchienensysteme/)
BestPracticesforSitingSolarPhotovoltaicsonMunicipalSolidWasteLandfills:AStudyPreparedinPartnershipwith
theEnvironmentalProtectionAgencyfortheREPoweringAmericasLandInitiative:SitingRenewableEnergyon
PotentiallyContaminatedLandandMineSites(http://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo41519)NationalRenewableEnergy
Laboratory
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