Photovoltaic Cells . . . And You Thought You Couldn't Afford It!
Photovoltaic cells for solar energy is becoming more and more popular and is a superior alternative energy source in the desert regions of the world, and in the latitudes closer to the equator, as it is more economical where there is much sunlight. Solar energy is popular today in developing countries, and is one of the fastest growing segments of the Photovoltaic (PV) market.
Solar energy is an unlimited resource. For that reason, many billions of research dollars are spent each year to better harness this energy. Still, it is ultimately limited by the fact that the sun doesn't shine every day, and that many geographical locations only have peak output for a few hours each day. That doesn't mean the sun only shines for a few hours a day, it means the angle of the sun is only at it's peak performance for a few hours a day.
Solar energy is not available at night, and energy storage is a significant issue because most energy systems usually assume continuous availability of energy. For this reason, solar cell energy is often not a cost effective alternative when purchased commercially, especially when it involves building an electrical distribution line, or a separate backup system for when the sun doesn't shine. It is, however, very cost effective when powering a vacation cabin or home that is off grid, or when you are able to do it yourself. Photovoltaic cells are often a much cheaper option than new electrical power lines from the grid.
Photovoltaic cells produce direct current (DC) power, and typically the solar system must have an inverter to be used on alternating current (AC) systems. Not a huge cost, but another consideration.
Solar energy is one of many renewable sources of energy available for consumer products, as well as an established form of renewable energy for homes and businesses. It is perhaps the cleanest, most abundant, renewable energy source available. Technology advances and government financial incentives have greatly helped to expand PV use since the mid 1990s.
PV Solar cell systems may seem a little pricey, but if you are somewhat handy with a few basic tools, you can do it yourself, and save money on your overall electricity bill. Besides, if everyone would help just a little towards preserving and conserving our environment, it would make a huge difference.