Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of converting solar energy into direct current electricity using semiconducting materials that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. A photovoltaic system employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cells to supply usable solar power. Power generation from solar PV has long been seen as a clean sustainable energy technology which draws upon the planet’s most plentiful and widely distributed renewable energy source – the sun. The direct conversion of sunlight to electricity occurs without any moving parts or environmental emissions during operation. It is well proven, as photovoltaic systems have now been used for fifty years in specialized applications, and grid-connected PV systems have been in use for over twenty years.
Driven by advances in technology and increases in manufacturing scale and sophistication, the cost of photovoltaics has declined steadily since the first solar cells were manufactured, and the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from PV is competitive with conventional electricity sources in an expanding list of geographic regions. Net metering and financial incentives, such as preferential feed-in tariffs for solar-generated electricity, have supported solar PV installations in many countries. With current technology, photovoltaics recoup the energy needed to manufacture them in 1.5 (in Southern Europe) to 2.5 years (in Northern Europe).
Solar PV is now, after hydro and wind power, the third most important renewable energy source in terms of globally installed capacity. More than 100 countries use solar PV. Installations may be ground-mounted (and sometimes integrated with farming and grazing) or built into the roof or walls of a building (either building-integrated photovoltaics or simply rooftop).
In 2013, the fast-growing capacity of worldwide installed solar PV increased by 38 percent to 139 gigawatts (GW). This is sufficient to generate at least 160 terawatt hours (TWh) or about 0.85 percent of the electricity demand on the planet. China, followed by Japan and the United States, is now the fastest growing market, while Germany remains the world's largest producer, contributing almost 6 percent to its national electricity demands.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Solar cells
- 3 Current developments
- 4 Economics
- 5 Applications
- 6 Advantages and disadvantages
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Further reading
The term "photovoltaic" comes from the Greek φῶς (phōs) meaning "light", and from "volt", the unit of electro-motive force, the volt, which in turn comes from the last name of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, inventor of the battery (electrochemical cell). The term "photo-voltaic" has been in use in English since 1849.
Photovoltaics are best known as a method for generating electric power by using solar cells to convert energy from the sun into a flow of electrons. The photovoltaic effect refers to photons of light exciting electrons into a higher state of energy, allowing them to act as charge carriers for an electric current. The photovoltaic effect was first observed by Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel in 1839. The term photovoltaic denotes the unbiased operating mode of a photodiode in which current through the device is entirely due to the transduced light energy. Virtually all photovoltaic devices are some type of photodiode.
Solar cells produce direct current electricity from sun light which can be used to power equipment or to recharge a battery. The first practical application of photovoltaics was to power orbiting satellites and other spacecraft, but today the majority of photovoltaic modules are used for grid connected power generation. In this case an inverter is required to convert the DC to AC. There is a smaller market for off-grid power for remote dwellings, boats, recreational vehicles, electric cars, roadside emergency telephones, remote sensing, and cathodic protection of pipelines.
Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels composed of a number of solar cells containing a photovoltaic material. Materials presently used for photovoltaics include monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide/sulfide. Copper solar cables connect modules (module cable), arrays (array cable), and sub-fields. Because of the growing demand for renewable energy sources, the manufacturing of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has advanced considerably in recent years.
Solar photovoltaics power generation has long been seen as a clean energy technology which draws upon the planet’s most plentiful and widely distributed renewable energy source – the sun. The technology is “inherently elegant” in that the direct conversion of sunlight to electricity occurs without any moving parts or environmental emissions during operation. It is well proven, as photovoltaic systems have now been used for fifty years in specialised applications, and grid-connected systems have been in use for over twenty years.
Cells require protection from the environment and are usually packaged tightly behind a glass sheet. When more power is required than a single cell can deliver, cells are electrically connected together to form photovoltaic modules, or solar panels. A single module is enough to power an emergency telephone, but for a house or a power plant the modules must be arranged in multiples as arrays.
Photovoltaic power capacity is measured as maximum power output under standardized test conditions (STC) in "Wp" (Watts peak). The actual power output at a particular point in time may be less than or greater than this standardized, or "rated," value, depending on geographical location, time of day, weather conditions, and other factors. Solar photovoltaic array capacity factors are typically under 25%, which is lower than many other industrial sources of electricity.
For best performance, terrestrial PV systems aim to maximize the time they face the sun. Solar trackers achieve this by moving PV panels to follow the sun. The increase can be by as much as 20% in winter and by as much as 50% in summer. Static mounted systems can be optimized by analysis of the sun path. Panels are often set to latitude tilt, an angle equal to the latitude, but performance can be improved by adjusting the angle for summer or winter. Generally, as with other semiconductor devices, temperatures above room temperature reduce the performance of photovoltaics.
A number of solar panels may also be mounted vertically above each other in a tower, if the zenith distance of the Sun is greater than zero, and the tower can be turned horizontally as a whole and each panels additionally around a horizontal axis. In such a tower the panels can follow the Sun exactly. Such a device may be described as a ladder mounted on a turnable disk. Each step of that ladder is the middle axis of a rectangular solar panel. In case the zenith distance of the Sun reaches zero, the "ladder" may be rotated to the north or the south to avoid a solar panel producing a shadow on a lower solar panel. Instead of an exactly vertical tower one can choose a tower with an axis directed to the polar star, meaning that it is parallel to the rotation axis of the Earth. In this case the angle between the axis and the Sun is always larger than 66 degrees. During a day it is only necessary to turn the panels around this axis to follow the Sun. Installations may be ground-mounted (and sometimes integrated with farming and grazing) or built into the roof or walls of a building (building-integrated photovoltaics).
The San Jose-based company Sunpower produces cells that have an energy conversion ratio of 19.5%, well above the market average of 12–18%. The most efficient solar cell so far is a multi-junction concentrator solar cell with an efficiency of 43.5% produced by Solar Junction in April 2011. The highest efficiencies achieved without concentration include Sharp Corporation at 35.8% using a proprietary triple-junction manufacturing technology in 2009, and Boeing Spectrolab (40.7% also using a triple-layer design).
Several companies have begun embedding power optimizers into PV modules called smart modules. These modules perform maximum power point tracking (MPPT) for each module individually, measure performance data for monitoring, and provide additional safety. Such modules can also compensate for shading effects, wherein a shadow falling across a section of a module causes the electrical output of one or more strings of cells in the module to fall to zero, but not having the output of the entire module fall to zero.
At the end of September 2013, IKEA announced that solar panel packages for houses will be sold at 17 United Kingdom IKEA stores by the end of July 2014. The decision followed a successful pilot project at the Lakeside IKEA store, whereby one photovoltaic (PV) system was sold almost every day. The panels are manufactured by a Chinese company named Hanergy Holding Group Ltd.
Solar photovoltaics is growing rapidly, albeit from a small base, to a total global capacity of 139 gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2013. The total power output of the world’s PV capacity in a calendar year is equal to some 160 billion kWh of electricity. This is sufficient to cover the annual power supply needs of 40 million households in the world, and represents 0.85 percent of worldwide electricity demand. More than 100 countries use solar PV. China, followed by Japan and the United States is now the fastest growing market, while Germany remains the world's largest producer, contributing almost 6 percent to its national electricity demands. Photovoltaics is now, after hydro and wind power, the third most important renewable energy source in terms of globally installed capacity.
The 2014 European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) report estimates global PV installations to grow 35-52 GW in 2014. China is predicted to take the lead from Germany and to become the world's largest producer of PV power in 2016. By 2018 the worldwide photovoltaic capacity is projected to have doubled (low scenario of 320 GW) or even tripled (high scenario of 430 GW) within five years. The EPIA also estimates that photovoltaics will meet 10 to 15 percent of Europe's energy demand in 2030.
The EPIA/Greenpeace Solar Generation Paradigm Shift Scenario (formerly called Advanced Scenario) from 2010 shows that by the year 2030, 1,845 GW of PV systems could be generating approximately 2,646 TWh/year of electricity around the world. Combined with energy use efficiency improvements, this would represent the electricity needs of more than 9 percent of the world's population. By 2050, over 20 percent of all electricity could be provided by photovoltaics.
Michael Liebreich, from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, anticipates a tipping point for solar energy. The costs of power from wind and solar are already below those of conventional electricity generation in some parts of the world, as they have fallen sharply and will continue to do so. He also asserts, that the electrical grid has been greatly expanded worldwide, and is ready to receive and distribute electricity from renewable sources. In addition, worldwide electricity prices came under strong pressure from renewable energy sources, that are, in part, enthusiastically embraced by consumers.
Deutsche Bank sees a "second gold rush" for the photovoltaic industry to come. Grid parity has already been reached in at least 19 markets by January 2014. Photovoltaics will prevail beyond feed-in tariffs, becoming more competitive as deployment increases and prices continue to fall.
In June 2014 Barclays downgraded bonds of U.S. utility companies. Barclays expects more competition by a growing self-consumption due to a combination of decentralized PV-systems and residential electricity storage. This could fundamentally change the utility's business model and transform the system over the next ten years, as prices for these systems are predicted to fall.
There have been major changes in the underlying costs, industry structure and market prices of solar photovoltaics technology, over the years, and gaining a coherent picture of the shifts occurring across the industry value chain globally is a challenge. This is due to: “the rapidity of cost and price changes, the complexity of the PV supply chain, which involves a large number of manufacturing processes, the balance of system (BOS) and installation costs associated with complete PV systems, the choice of different distribution channels, and differences between regional markets within which PV is being deployed”. Further complexities result from the many different policy support initiatives that have been put in place to facilitate photovoltaics commercialisation in various countries.
The PV industry has seen dramatic drops in module prices since 2008. In late 2011, factory-gate prices for crystalline-silicon photovoltaic modules dropped below the $1.00/W mark. The $1.00/W installed cost, is often regarded in the PV industry as marking the achievement of grid parity for PV. Technological advancements, manufacturing process improvements, and industry re-structuring, mean that further price reductions are likely in coming years.
Financial incentives for photovoltaics, such as feed-in tariffs, have often been offered to electricity consumers to install and operate solar-electric generating systems. Government has sometimes also offered incentives in order to encourage the PV industry to achieve the economies of scale needed to compete where the cost of PV-generated electricity is above the cost from the existing grid. Such policies are implemented to promote national or territorial energy independence, high tech job creation and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions which cause global warming. Due to economies of scale solar panels get less costly as people use and buy more—as manufacturers increase production to meet demand, the cost and price is expected to drop in the years to come.
Solar cell efficiencies vary from 6% for amorphous silicon-based solar cells to 44.0% with multiple-junction concentrated photovoltaics. Solar cell energy conversion efficiencies for commercially available photovoltaics are around 14–22%. Concentrated photovoltaics (CPV) may reduce cost by concentrating up to 1,000 suns (through magnifying lens) onto a smaller sized photovoltaic cell. However, such concentrated solar power requires sophisticated heat sink designs, otherwise the photovoltaic cell overheats, which reduces its efficiency and life. To further exacerbate the concentrated cooling design, the heat sink must be passive, otherwise the power required for active cooling would reduce the overall efficiency and economy.
Crystalline silicon solar cell prices have fallen from $76.67/Watt in 1977 to an estimated $0.74/Watt in 2013. This is seen as evidence supporting Swanson's law, an observation similar to the famous Moore's Law that states that solar cell prices fall 20% for every doubling of industry capacity.
As of 2011, the price of PV modules per MW has fallen by 60% since the summer of 2008, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates, putting solar power for the first time on a competitive footing with the retail price of electricity in a number of sunny countries; an alternative and consistent price decline figure of 75% from 2007 to 2012 has also been published, though it is unclear whether these figures are specific to the United States or generally global. The levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) from PV is competitive with conventional electricity sources in an expanding list of geographic regions, particularly when the time of generation is included, as electricity is worth more during the day than at night. There has been fierce competition in the supply chain, and further improvements in the levelised cost of energy for solar lie ahead, posing a growing threat to the dominance of fossil fuel generation sources in the next few years. As time progresses, renewable energy technologies generally get cheaper, while fossil fuels generally get more expensive:
The less solar power costs, the more favorably it compares to conventional power, and the more attractive it becomes to utilities and energy users around the globe. Utility-scale solar power can now be delivered in California at prices well below $100/MWh ($0.10/kWh) less than most other peak generators, even those running on low-cost natural gas. Lower solar module costs also stimulate demand from consumer markets where the cost of solar compares very favorably to retail electric rates.
As of 2011, the cost of PV has fallen well below that of nuclear power and is set to fall further. The average retail price of solar cells as monitored by the Solarbuzz group fell from $3.50/watt to $2.43/watt over the course of 2011.
For large-scale installations, prices below $1.00/watt were achieved. A module price of 0.60 Euro/watt ($0.78/watt) was published for a large scale 5-year deal in April 2012.
By the end of 2012, the "best in class" module price had dropped to $0.50/watt, and was expected to drop to $0.36/watt by 2017.
In many locations, PV has reached grid parity, which is usually defined as PV production costs at or below retail electricity prices (though often still above the power station prices for coal or gas-fired generation without their distribution and other costs). However, in many countries there is still a need for more access to capital to develop PV projects. To solve this problem securitization has been proposed and used to accelerate development of solar photovoltaic projects. For example, SolarCity offered, the first U.S. asset-backed security in the solar industry in 2013.
Photovoltaic power is also generated during a time of day that is close to peak demand (precedes it) in electricity systems with high use of air conditioning. More generally, it is now evident that, given a carbon price of $50/ton, which would raise the price of coal-fired power by 5c/kWh, solar PV will be cost-competitive in most locations. The declining price of PV has been reflected in rapidly growing installations, totaling about 23 GW in 2011. Although some consolidation is likely in 2012, due to support cuts in the large markets of Germany and Italy, strong growth seems likely to continue for the rest of the decade. Already, by one estimate, total investment in renewables for 2011 exceeded investment in carbon-based electricity generation.
In the case of self consumption payback time is calculated based on how much electricity is not brought from the grid. Additionally, using PV solar power to charge DC batteries, as used in Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Electric Vehicles, leads to greater efficiencies. Traditionally, DC generated electricity from solar PV must be converted to AC for buildings, at an average 10% loss during the conversion. An additional efficiency loss occurs in the transition back to DC for battery driven devices and vehicles, and using various interest rates and energy price changes were calculated to find present values that range from $2,057.13 to $8,213.64 (analysis from 2009).
For example in Germany with electricity prices of 0.25 euro/KWh and Insolation of 900 KWh/KW one KWp will save 225 euro per year and with installation cost of 1700 euro/KWp means that the system will pay back in less than 7 years.
Many solar photovoltaic power stations have been built, mainly in Europe. As of July 2012, the largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants in the world are the Agua Caliente Solar Project (USA, 247 MW), Charanka Solar Park (India, 214 MW), Golmud Solar Park (China, 200 MW), Perovo Solar Park (Ukraine 100 MW), Sarnia Photovoltaic Power Plant (Canada, 97 MW), Brandenburg-Briest Solarpark (Germany 91 MW), Solarpark Finow Tower (Germany 84.7 MW), Montalto di Castro Photovoltaic Power Station (Italy, 84.2 MW), Eggebek Solar Park (Germany 83.6 MW), Senftenberg Solarpark (Germany 82 MW), Finsterwalde Solar Park (Germany, 80.7 MW), Okhotnykovo Solar Park (Ukraine, 80 MW), Lopburi Solar Farm (Thailand 73.16 MW), Rovigo Photovoltaic Power Plant (Italy, 72 MW), and the Lieberose Photovoltaic Park (Germany, 71.8 MW).
There are also many large plants under construction. The Desert Sunlight Solar Farm under construction in Riverside County, California and Topaz Solar Farm being built in San Luis Obispo County, California are both 550 MW solar parks that will use thin-film solar photovoltaic modules made by First Solar. The Blythe Solar Power Project is a 500 MW photovoltaic station under construction in Riverside County, California. The California Valley Solar Ranch (CVSR) is a 250 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant, which is being built by SunPower in the Carrizo Plain, northeast of California Valley. The 230 MW Antelope Valley Solar Ranch is a First Solar photovoltaic project which is under construction in the Antelope Valley area of the Western Mojave Desert, and due to be completed in 2013. The Mesquite Solar project is a photovoltaic solar power plant being built in Arlington, Maricopa County, Arizona, owned by Sempra Generation. Phase 1 will have a nameplate capacity of 150 megawatts.
Many of these plants are integrated with agriculture and some use innovative tracking systems that follow the sun's daily path across the sky to generate more electricity than conventional fixed-mounted systems. There are no fuel costs or emissions during operation of the power stations.
Photovoltaic arrays are often associated with buildings: either integrated into them, mounted on them or mounted nearby on the ground.
Arrays are most often retrofitted into existing buildings, usually mounted on top of the existing roof structure or on the existing walls. Alternatively, an array can be located separately from the building but connected by cable to supply power for the building. In 2010, more than four-fifths of the 9,000 MW of solar PV operating in Germany were installed on rooftops. Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are increasingly incorporated into new domestic and industrial buildings as a principal or ancillary source of electrical power. Typically, an array is incorporated into the roof or walls of a building. Roof tiles with integrated PV cells are also common. A 2011 study using thermal imaging has shown that solar panels, provided there is an open gap in which air can circulate between them and the roof, provide a passive cooling effect on buildings during the day and also keep accumulated heat in at night.
The power output of photovoltaic systems for installation in buildings is usually described in kilowatt-peak units (kWp).
PV has traditionally been used for electric power in space. PV is rarely used to provide motive power in transport applications, but is being used increasingly to provide auxiliary power in boats and cars. Some automobiles are fitted with solar-powered air conditioning to limit interior temperatures on hot days. A self-contained solar vehicle would have limited power and utility, but a solar-charged electric vehicle allows use of solar power for transportation. Solar-powered cars, boats and airplanes have been demonstrated, with the most practical and likely of these being solar cars.
Until a decade or so ago, PV was used frequently to power calculators and novelty devices. Improvements in integrated circuits and low power liquid crystal displays make it possible to power such devices for several years between battery changes, making PV use less common. In contrast, solar powered remote fixed devices have seen increasing use recently in locations where significant connection cost makes grid power prohibitively expensive. Such applications include solar lamps, water pumps, parking meters, emergency telephones, trash compactors, temporary traffic signs, charging stations, and remote guard posts and signals.
Developing countries where many villages are often more than five kilometers away from grid power are increasingly using photovoltaics. In remote locations in India a rural lighting program has been providing solar powered LED lighting to replace kerosene lamps. The solar powered lamps were sold at about the cost of a few months' supply of kerosene. Cuba is working to provide solar power for areas that are off grid. More complex applications of off-grid solar energy use include 3D printers. RepRap 3D printers have been solar powered with photovoltaic technology, which enables distributed manufacturing for sustainable development.
These are areas where the social costs and benefits offer an excellent case for going solar, though the lack of profitability has relegated such endeavors to humanitarian efforts. However, solar rural electrification projects have been difficult to sustain due to unfavorable economics, lack of technical support, and a legacy of ulterior motives of north-to-south technology transfer.
In December 2008, the Oregon Department of Transportation placed in service the nation’s first solar photovoltaic system in a U.S. highway right-of-way. The 104-kilowatt (kW) array produces enough electricity to offset approximately one-third of the electricity needed to light the Interstate highway interchange where it is located.
A 45 mi (72 km) section of roadway in Idaho is being used to test the possibility of installing solar panels into the road surface, as roads are generally unobstructed to the sun and represent about the percentage of land area needed to replace other energy sources with solar power.
In May 2008, the Far Niente Winery in Oakville, CA pioneered the world's first "floatovoltaic" system by installing 994 photovoltaic solar panels onto 130 pontoons and floating them on the winery's irrigation pond. The floating system generates about 477 kW of peak output and when combined with an array of cells located adjacent to the pond is able to fully offset the winery's electricity consumption.
The primary benefit of a floatovoltaic system is that it avoids the need to sacrifice valuable land area that could be used for another purpose. In the case of the Far Niente Winery, the floating system saved three-quarters of an acre that would have been required for a land-based system. That land area can instead be used to grow an amount of grapes able to produce $150,000 of bottled wine. Another benefit of a floatovoltaic system is that the panels are kept at a cooler temperature than they would be on land, leading to a higher efficiency of solar energy conversion. The floating panels also reduce the amount of water lost through evaporation and inhibit the growth of algae.
In 2012, a UL approved solar panel was introduced that is simply plugged into an electrical outlet. It senses mains voltage and waits for five minutes before activating the inverter, and shuts down immediately if line voltage is removed, eliminating any shock hazard from touching the plug prongs. Up to five 240-watt panels can be connected to one outlet.
Dye solar cells
The dye solar cell module is very young photovoltaic technology, The ultimate aim is the successful integration of solar modules into the building facade. Researchers at the Fraunhofer ISE have succeeded in producing the worldwide first dye solar cell module.
Telecommunication and signaling
Solar PV power is ideally suited for telecommunication applications such as local telephone exchange, radio and TV broadcasting, microwave and other forms of electronic communication links. This is because, in most telecommunication application, storage batteries are already in use and the electrical system is basically DC. In hilly and mountainous terrain, radio and TV signals may not reach as they get blocked or reflected back due to undulating terrain. At these locations, low power transmitters (LPT) are installed to receive and retransmit the signal for local population.
Photovoltaic solar cells on spacecraft was one of the earliest applications of photovoltaic cells. The first spacecraft to use solar panels was the Vanguard 1 satellite, launched by the US in 1958.
Solar panels on spacecraft supply power for two principle uses:
- power to run the sensors, active heating and cooling, and telemetry.
- power for spacecraft propulsion—electric propulsion, sometimes called solar-electric propulsion. See also energy needed for propulsion methods.
For both uses, the figure of merit of the solar panels is the power generated per unit mass, as an upper limit of the power the spacecraft has at its disposal per kg. spacecraft (including solar panels).[clarification needed] To increase the power generated per kg., typical spacecraft solar panels use close-packed solar cell rectangles that cover nearly 100% of the sun-visible area of the solar panels, rather than the solar wafer circles, which, even though close-packed, cover about 90% of the sun-visible area of typical on earth-based solar panels. However, some spacecraft solar panels have solar cells that cover as little as 30% of the sun-visible area.
Photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collector
Main article: Photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collector.
Photovoltaic thermal hybrid solar collectors, sometimes known as hybrid PV/T systems or PVT, are systems that convert solar radiation into thermal and electrical energy. These systems combine a photovoltaic cell, which converts electromagnetic radiation (photons) into electricity, with a solar thermal collector, which captures the remaining energy and removes waste heat from the PV module. The capture of both electricity and heat allow these devices to have higher exergy and thus be more overall energy efficient than solar photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal alone.
Advantages and disadvantages
The 122 PW of sunlight reaching the Earth's surface is plentiful—almost 10,000 times more than the 13 TW equivalent of average power consumed in 2005 by humans. This abundance leads to the suggestion that it will not be long before solar energy will become the world's primary energy source. Additionally, solar electric generation has the highest power density (global mean of 170 W/m2) among renewable energies.
Solar power is pollution-free during use. Production end-wastes and emissions are manageable using existing pollution controls. End-of-use recycling technologies are under development and policies are being produced that encourage recycling from producers.
PV installations can operate for 100 years or even more  with little maintenance or intervention after their initial set-up, so after the initial capital cost of building any solar power plant, operating costs are extremely low compared to existing power technologies.
Grid-connected solar electricity can be used locally thus reducing transmission/distribution losses (transmission losses in the US were approximately 7.2% in 1995).
Compared to fossil and nuclear energy sources, very little research money has been invested in the development of solar cells, so there is considerable room for improvement. Nevertheless, experimental high efficiency solar cells already have efficiencies of over 40% in case of concentrating photovoltaic cells and efficiencies are rapidly rising while mass-production costs are rapidly falling.
In some states of the United States, much of the investment in a home-mounted system may be lost if the home-owner moves and the buyer puts less value on the system than the seller. The city of Berkeley developed an innovative financing method to remove this limitation, by adding a tax assessment that is transferred with the home to pay for the solar panels. Now known as PACE, Property Assessed Clean Energy, 28 U.S. states have duplicated this solution.
There is evidence, at least in California, that the presence of a home-mounted solar system can actually increase the value of a home. According to a paper published in April 2011 by the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory titled An Analysis of the Effects of Residential Photovoltaic Energy Systems on Home Sales Prices in California:
The research finds strong evidence that homes with PV systems in California have sold for a premium over comparable homes without PV systems. More specifically, estimates for average PV premiums range from approximately $3.9 to $6.4 per installed watt (DC) among a large number of different model specifications, with most models coalescing near $5.5/watt. That value corresponds to a premium of approximately $17,000 for a relatively new 3,100 watt PV system (the average size of PV systems in the study).
- Pearce, Joshua (2002). open access "Photovoltaics – A Path to Sustainable Futures". Futures 34 (7): 663–674. doi:10.1016/S0016-3287(02)00008-3.
- M Bazilian, I Onyeji, M Liebreich, I MacGill, J Chase, J Shah, D Gielen... (2013). "Re-considering the economics of photovoltaic power". Renewable Energy (53).
- Swanson, R. M. (2009). "Photovoltaics Power Up". Science 324 (5929): 891–2. doi:10.1126/science.1169616. PMID 19443773.
- Branker, K.; Pathak, M.J.M.; Pearce, J.M. (2011). "A Review of Solar Photovoltaic Levelized Cost of Electricity". Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 15 (9): 4470. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2011.07.104. hdl:1974/6879.
- Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century (REN21), Renewables 2010 Global Status Report, Paris, 2010, pp. 1–80.
- Photovoltaics Report. Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. November 7, 2013.
- "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2014-2018". www.epia.org. EPIA - European Photovoltaic Industry Association. Archived from the original on 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
- "Market Report 2013 (02)". EPIA-publications. European Photovoltaic Industry Association. March 2014. Archived from the original on 4 April 2014.
- "Snapshot of Global PV 1992-2013". 2nd Edition ISBN 978-3-906042-19-0. International Energy Agency - Photovoltaic Power Systems Programme. 2014. Archived from the original on 5 April 2014.
- Smee, Alfred (1849). Elements of electro-biology,: or the voltaic mechanism of man; of electro-pathology, especially of the nervous system; and of electro-therapeutics. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans. p. 15.
- Photovoltaic Effect. Mrsolar.com. Retrieved 12 December 2010
- The photovoltaic effect. Encyclobeamia.solarbotics.net. Retrieved on 12 December 2010.
- Jacobson, Mark Z. (2009). "Review of Solutions to Global Warming, Air Pollution, and Energy Security". Energy & Environmental Science 2 (2): 148. doi:10.1039/B809990C.
- German PV market. Solarbuzz.com. Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
- BP Solar to Expand Its Solar Cell Plants in Spain and India. Renewableenergyaccess.com. 23 March 2007. Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
- Bullis, Kevin (23 June 2006). Large-Scale, Cheap Solar Electricity. Technologyreview.com. Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
- Luque, Antonio and Hegedus, Steven (2003). Handbook of Photovoltaic Science and Engineering. John Wiley and Sons. ISBN 0-471-49196-9.
- The PVWatts Solar Calculator Retrieved on 7 September 2012
- Massachusetts: a Good Solar Market. Remenergyco.com. Retrieved on 31 May 2013.
- Vick, B.D., Clark, R.N. (2005). Effect of panel temperature on a Solar-PV AC water pumping system, pp. 159–164 in: Proceedings of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) 2005 Solar Water Congress: Bringing water to the World, 8–12 August 2005, Orlando, Florida.
- GE Invests, Delivers One of World's Largest Solar Power Plants. Huliq.com (12 April 2007). Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
- "SunPower TM 318 Solar Panel Data Sheet". SunPower. February 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
- "Update: Solar Junction Breaking CPV Efficiency Records, Raising $30M". Greentech Media. 15 April 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- Sharp Develops Solar Cell with World's Highest Conversion Efficiency of 35.8%. Physorg.com. 22 October 2009. Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
- Reuters (30 September 2013). "Ikea to sell solar panels in UK stores". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
- European Photovoltaic Industry Association (2013). "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics 2013-2017".
- "Renewables 2011: Global Status Report". REN21. 2011. p. 22.
- "Global Market Outlook for Photovoltaics until 2016". EPIA. 2012. pp. 9, 11, 12, 64.
- Solar Photovoltaic Electricity Empowering the World. Epia.org (22 September 2012). Retrieved on 31 May 2013.
- Liebreich, Michael (29 January 2014). "A YEAR OF CRACKING ICE: 10 PREDICTIONS FOR 2014". http://about.bnef.com/. Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
- "2014 Outlook: Let the Second Gold Rush Begin". Deutsche Bank Markets Research. 6 January 2014. Archived from the original on 22 November 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.
- Barclays stuft Anleihen von US-Stromversorgern herunter; Konkurrenz durch Photovoltaik und Energiespeicher. In: solarserver.de, 16. Juni 2014. Abgerufen am 16. Juni 2014.
- "Insolation Levels (Europe)". Apricus Solar. Archived from the original on 17 April 2012. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
- "UD-led team sets solar cell record, joins DuPont on $100 million project". UDaily. University of Delaware. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 24 July 2007.
- Schultz, O.; Mette, A.; Preu, R.; Glunz, S.W. "Silicon Solar Cells with Screen-Printed Front Side Metallization Exceeding 19% Efficiency". The compiled state-of-the-art of PV solar technology and deployment. 22nd European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, EU PVSEC 2007. Proceedings of the international conference. CD-ROM : Held in Milan, Italy, 3 – 7 September 2007. pp. 980–983. ISBN 3-936338-22-1.
- Shahan, Zachary. (20 June 2011) Sunpower Panels Awarded Guinness World Record. Reuters.com. Retrieved on 31 May 2013.
- "Sunny Uplands: Alternative energy will no longer be alternative". The Economist. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
- Wells, Ken (25 October 2012). "Solar Energy Is Ready. The U.S. Isn't". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 1 November 2012.
- Utilities’ Honest Assessment of Solar in the Electricity Supply. Greentechmedia.com (7 May 2012). Retrieved on 31 May 2013.
- "Renewables Investment Breaks Records". Renewable Energy World. 29 August 2011.
- Renewable energy costs drop in '09 Reuters, 23 November 2009.
- Solar Power 50% Cheaper By Year End – Analysis. Reuters, 24 November 2009.
- Harris, Arno (31 August 2011). "A Silver Lining in Declining Solar Prices". Renewable Energy World.
- Quiggin, John (3 January 2012). "The End of the Nuclear Renaissance". National Interest.
- Chinese PV producer Phono Solar to supply German system integrator Sybac Solar with 500 MW of PV modules Solarserver.com, April 30, 2012
- Solar PV Module Costs to Fall to 36 Cents per Watt by 2017 Retrieved 28 June 2013
- T. Alafita and J.M. Pearce, "Securitization of residential solar photovoltaic assets: Costs, risks and uncertainty", Energy Policy, 67, pp. 488–498 (2014). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2013.12.045 open access
- Lowder, T., & Mendelsohn, M. (2013). The Potential of Securitization in Solar PV Finance.
- "Done Deal: The First Securitization Of Rooftop Solar Assets" Forbes - URL: http://www.forbes.com/sites/uciliawang/2013/11/21/done-deal-the-first-securitization-of-rooftop-solar-assets/
- Converting Solar Energy into the PHEV Battery. VerdeL3C.com (May 2009).
- Money saved by producing electricity from PV and Years for payback. Docs.google.com. Retrieved on 31 May 2013.
- Lenardic, Denis. Large-scale photovoltaic power plants ranking 1 – 50 PVresources.com.
- "DOE Closes on Four Major Solar Projects". Renewable Energy World. 30 September 2011.
- "NRG Energy Completes Acquisition of 250-Megawatt California Valley Solar Ranch from SunPower". MarketWatch. 30 September 2011.
- "Exelon purchases 230 MW Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One from First Solar". Solar Server. 4 October 2011.
- "Sempra Generation contracts with PG&E for 150 mw of solar power". CNN. 12 October 2010. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- "Mesquite Solar". Sempra Generation. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- Final Installation Inspection,Retrieved 11/04/2014
- Gipe, Paul (2 June 2010) Germany To Raise Solar Target for 2010 & Adjust Tariffs | Renewable Energy News. Renewableenergyworld.com. Retrieved on 12 December 2010.
- Building Integrated Photovoltaics, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation, accessed: 23 March 2007.
- "Solar panels keep buildings cool". University of California, San Diego. Retrieved 19 July 2011.
- Next-gen Prius now official, uses solar panels to keep car cool
- World's largest solar-powered boat completes its trip around the world Retrieved 28 June 2013
- Solar-powered plane lands outside Washington D.C. Retrieved 28 June 2013
- SolidWorks Plays Key Role in Cambridge Eco Race Effort. cambridgenetwork.co.uk (4 February 2009).
- "Solar water pumping". builditsolar.com. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
- Solar-Powered Parking Meters Installed. 10news.com (18 February 2009). Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
- "Solar-powered parking meters make downtown debut". Impactnews.com. 22 July 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
- Philadelphia's Solar-Powered Trash Compactors. MSNBC (24 July 2009). Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
- AT&T installing solar-powered charging stations around New York Retrieved 28 June 2013
- Chevrolet Dealers Install Green Zone Stations Retrieved 28 June 2013
- Solar loans light up rural India. BBC News (29 April 2007). Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
- Off grid solutions for remote poor. ebono.org. (26 February 2008).
- Barclay, Eliza (31 July 2003). Rural Cuba Basks in the Sun. islamonline.net.
- How 3D Printers Are Boosting Off-The-Grid, Underdeveloped Communities - MotherBoard, Nov. 2014
- Debbie L. King, Adegboyega Babasola, Joseph Rozario, and Joshua M. Pearce, “Open-Source Solar-Powered 3-D Printers for Distributed Manufacturing in Off-Grid Communities,” Challenges in Sustainability 2(1), 18-27 (2014).
- Erickson, Jon D.; Chapman, Duane (1995). "Photovoltaic Technology: Markets, Economics, and Development". World Development 23 (7): 1129–1141. doi:10.1016/0305-750x(95)00033-9.
- "The ODOT Solar Highway". Oregon Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved 22 April 2011.
- Solar Roads attract funding. ebono.org. 8 March 2008
- Winery goes solar with 'Floatovoltaics'. SFGate (29 May 2008). Retrieved on 31 May 2013.
- NAPA VALLEY’S FAR NIENTE WINERY INTRODUCES FIRST-EVER “FLOATOVOLTAIC” SOLAR ARRAY. farniente.com
- Napa Winery Pioneers Solar Floatovoltaics. Forbes (18 April 2012). Retrieved on 31 May 2013.
- Got a deck? Solar panels now a plug-in appliance. News.cnet.com (12 May 2012). Retrieved on 31 May 2013.
- B.H Khan, 'Non-Conventional Energy Resources', TMH Publications 01-01-2006
- Perlin, John (Pub date unknown). "Late 1950s - Saved by the Space Race". SOLAR EVOLUTION - The History of Solar Energy. The Rahus Institute. Retrieved 2007-02-25. Check date values in:
- NASA JPL Publication: Basics of Space Flight, Chapter 11. Typical Onboard Systems, Propulsion Subsystems, http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/basics/bsf11-4.html#propulsion
- M.J.M. Pathak, P.G. Sanders, J. M. Pearce, Optimizing limited solar roof access by exergy analysis of solar thermal, photovoltaic, and hybrid photovoltaic thermal systems, Applied Energy, 120, pp. 115-124 (2014). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2014.01.041 Open access
- Ahmad Mojiri, Robert A. Taylor, Elizabeth Thomsen, Gary Rosengarten, Spectral beam splitting for efficient conversion of solar energy—A review, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews Volume 28, December 2013, Pages 654–663
- Smil, Vaclav (2006) Energy at the Crossroads. oecd.org. Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
- Renewable Energy: Is the Future in Nuclear? Prof. Gordon Aubrecht (Ohio State at Marion) TEDxColumbus, The Innovators – 18 October 2012
- Nieuwlaar, Evert and Alsema, Erik. Environmental Aspects of PV Power Systems. IEA PVPS Task 1 Workshop, 25–27 June 1997, Utrecht, The Netherlands
- McDonald, N.C.; Pearce, J.M. (2010). "Producer Responsibility and Recycling Solar Photovoltaic Modules". Energy Policy 38 (11): 7041. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2010.07.023.
- Advantages and disadvantages of solar energy. Retrieved on 25 December 2013.
- U.S. Climate Change Technology Program – Transmission and Distribution Technologies. (PDF) . Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
- Fraunhofer: 41.1% efficiency multi-junction solar cells. renewableenergyfocus.com (28 January 2009).
- Study Sees Solar Cost-Competitive In Europe By 2015. Solar Cells Info (16 October 2007). Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
- "Berkeley FIRST Solar Financing – City of Berkeley, CA". cityofberkeley.info.
- DSIRE Solar Portal. Dsireusa.org (4 April 2011). Retrieved on 3 June 2012.
- Hoen, Ben; Wiser, Ryan; Cappers, Peter and Thayer, Mark (April 2011). "An Analysis of the Effects of Residential Photovoltaic Energy Systems on Home Sales Prices in California". Berkeley National Laboratory.
- Clean Tech Nation: How the U.S. Can Lead in the New Global Economy (2012) by Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder
- Deploying Renewables 2011 (2011) by the International Energy Agency
- Reinventing Fire: Bold Business Solutions for the New Energy Era (2011) by Amory Lovins
- Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (2011) by the IPCC
- Solar Energy Perspectives (2011) by the International Energy Agency