Right now,the current source of electricity generated from solar energy has reached the most isolated places on earth. The PV system was first used in the space program and now the system is also used to light up the night, pumping water, charge the battery, and more
Simple PV Systems
Simple solar electric systems can be used to power water pumps for irrigation and drinking wells, and ventilation fans for air cooling. For this reason, the most simple PV systems use the DC electricity as soon as it is generated. Basic PV systems have several advantages for the special jobs they do: the energy is produced where and when it is needed, small systems under 500 watts weigh less than 150 pounds which makes them easy to transport and install, and finally, although pumps and fans may require regular maintenance, the PV modules require only an occasional inspection and cleaning.
PV with Battery Storage
Storing electrical energy makes PV systems a reliable source of electric power day and night, rain or shine. PV systems with battery storage are being used all over the world to power lights, sensors, recording equipment, switches, appliances, telephones, televisions, and even power tools. PV systems with batteries can be designed to power DC or AC equipment.
PV with Generators
When power must always be available, or when larger amounts of electricity than a PV system alone can supply are occasionally needed, an electric generator can work effectively with a PV system to supply the load. During the day, the PV modules quietly supply daytime energy needs and charge batteries. If the batteries run low, the engine generator runs at full power (its most cost- and fuel-efficient mode of operation) until they are charged. In some systems, the generator makes up the difference when electrical demand exceeds the combined output of the PV modules and the batteries.
PV Connected to Utilities
Where utility power is available, a grid-connected PV system can supply some of the energy needed and use the utility in place of batteries. Home, government and business owners are installing PV systems connected to the utility grid. They do so because they know that the system reduces the amount of electricity they purchase from the utility each month. They also realize that PV consumes no fuel and generates no pollution.
The owner of a grid-connected PV system may even be able to sell electricity back to the grid each month. This is because electricity generated by the PV system can be used on site or fed through a meter into the utility grid. PowerLight’s solar electric systems are examples of grid-connected solar electricity.
Large-scale photovoltaic power plants, consisting of many PV arrays installed together, can prove useful to utilities. Utilities can build PV plants much more quickly than they can build conventional power plants because the arrays themselves are easy to install and connect together electrically. Utilities can locate PV plants where they are most needed in the grid because siting PV arrays is much easier than siting a conventional power plant. And, unlike conventional power plants, PV plants can be expanded incrementally as demand increases. Finally, PV power plants consume no fuel and produce no air or water pollution while they silently generate electricity.
Hybrid Power Systems
Hybrid systems combine numerous electricity production and storage pieces to meet the energy demands of a given facility or community. In addition to PV, engine generators, wind generators, small hydro plants, and any other source of electrical energy can be added as needed to meet energy demands and fit the local geographical and temporal characteristics. These systems are ideal for remote applications such as communications stations, military installations, and rural villages.