photovoltaic solar energy from fundamentals to applications

 In this article we will give a vision of photovoltaic solar energy from its foundations to its applications and  the subsequent development of this kind of energy and I will review its current state in the world and in Spain.

1. First steps and development of photovoltaic solar energy

The discovery of the photovoltaic effect, the basis of operation of solar cells, dates back to the 19th century, when H. Becquerel described it in 1839, although the precise explanation of it was delayed about a century, until the advent of quantum physics early twentieth century [1].

Solar cells were a rare scientific curiosity for a long time. It was necessary to wait until 1954 for the first silicon solar cell to be manufactured, at the hands of scientists DM Chapin, CS Fuller and GL Pearson of Bell Telephone laboratories (USA). After its public presentation, The New York Times, in its issue of April 26, 1954, made the following comment on the invention of the solar cell:  “It can mark the beginning of a new era, allowing the realization of one of the dreams most loved by humanity: the use of unlimited energy from the sun for the uses of civilization ”.

photovoltaic solar energy from fundamentals to applications
GL Pearson (left), DM Chapin (center) and CS Fuller (right). Right: Fuller’s laboratory notebook, describing the fundamentals of the solar cell manufactured at Bell Laboratories.

A year later, certain industries, driven by the start of the US space program, were commissioned to produce solar cells for space applications. The Hoffman Electronic company was the first to manufacture these devices commercially, although with a very low conversion efficiency, of only 3%.

In 1958, the Vanguard-I satellite was launched into space  , the  first to use solar cells as a source of energy and which would be operational for 8 years. It is shown in the picture:

photovoltaic solar energy from fundamentals to applications
Vanguard-I satellite, the size of which was similar to that of a soccer ball. The arrows indicate the location of the solar cells that supplied the satellite energy.

In artificial satellites and manned vehicles with which man arrived on the moon in 1969, autonomous, light and reliable electric power batteries were needed and solar cells met all these requirements. Although the electricity obtained with these devices was very expensive (of the order of € 100 / kWh, with prices updated at the present time), the cost represented by the batteries manufactured with the solar cells was very low compared to the rest of the components of the space vehicles.

The technology of the solar cells was impelled enormously thanks to the microelectronic industry, from which it took good part of its manufacturing processes. Thanks to this, in a few years devices with efficiencies of conversion of solar energy into electricity of 15% were obtained. The development in the space field continued during the decade of the 60s and 70s. In 1973 the first American space station, the  Skylab , had installed 20 kW of power in photovoltaic panels. The year 1975 was the first in which space applications were surpassed by terrestrial ones, mainly lighthouses and small experimental production plants.

Since that year, which can be considered as the definitive takeoff of this energy source, its development in the world has gone through three clearly differentiated phases, which are shown in the following graph where the power values ​​of installed solar power plants are detailed in the world, compared to the total installed power coming from all other energy sources. The evolution from 1970 to 2010 is shown and distinguishes three phases, which are detailed in the following paragraph:

photovoltaic solar energy from fundamentals to applications
Electric power installed in the world in billions of watts (TW; 1 TW = 1,000,000,000,000) depending on the year. The vertical scale is logarithmic. Source:  Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Phase I: 1975-1985. The successive oil crises of the years 1973 (Yom Kippur War) and 1979 (Iran Revolution) made the main industrialized countries aware of the need to seek alternative energy sources to oil, due to the sharp increases in the price of crude (between 1973 and 1979, the price of the barrel multiplied by six). Simultaneously, ecological awareness spread throughout the planet and began to raise the need to limit greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, mainly CO2. For these reasons, in the United States, programs to stimulate fossil fuel-based energies, encouraged by the Carter administration, began. In those years the first experimental solar gardens were installed, of very small size (tens of kW).

Phase II: 1985-1995 . After the successive oil crises, barrel prices were significantly reduced and stabilized at values ​​similar to the pre-crisis moments, which lowered interest and state aid and incentives for renewable energy. During this period, the main R&D activities in photovoltaic devices were carried out by large oil companies, being British Petroleum one of the most representative. However, a good number of research laboratories continued to improve the manufacturing technology of solar cells, overcoming conversion efficiencies year after year.

Phase III: 1995-Present.  The use of renewable energy has been spreading gradually in the world in general and in developed countries in particular. At the beginning of the 21st century, numerous countries, such as Germany, Spain, Italy, the United States and others,  began to strongly encourage  the use of this energy source by paying premiums for the electricity produced. Simultaneously, the manufacturers of photovoltaic panels went from the field of oil companies and electronic industries to being specific manufacturers. Currently the top positions in  the world ranking of manufacturers Asian companies are occupied by solar cells, with China in the lead (Yingli, Hanwha, Trina) and some American companies (Canadian Solar Industries, First Solar).

European manufacturers, who had a very prominent role in the origin and development of photovoltaic technology at the beginning of this century, (Q-cells, Isofoton), have disappeared or have been absorbed by large Asian manufacturers, who have established some Pricing policies with which it is practically impossible to compete.

In recent years, the installed photovoltaic power accumulated worldwide has not stopped growing year after year, as the figure shows. The values ​​shown in the graph are proof that the commitment to this energy source is unstoppable and reaches the entire planet:

photovoltaic solar energy from fundamentals to applications


Installed photovoltaic power accumulated in the world. Data expressed in Gigawatios (GW; 1 GW = 1,000,000,000 W). Source: Photovoltaic Report 2015 . Fraunhofer Institut ISE

2. Development and stagnation of photovoltaic energy in Spain

In the specific case of our country, since 2007 a firm commitment to this energy was made, through  various decrees  that established premiums for photovoltaic energy producers, but the compensation system established in 2007 was poorly designed, since it did not put limits to installed capacity, which caused the installations boom of 2008 and all the mess and regulatory chaos that came later. The evolution of installed power in Spain is shown in the following graph:

photovoltaic solar energy from fundamentals to applications

Evolution of photovoltaic solar power installed and accumulated in Spain, expressed in MW (1 MW = 1,000,000 W). The boom of the year 2008 and the brake in new facilities since 2012 are appreciated (22 MW were installed in 2014). Source:  Annual Report 2015 . Spanish Photovoltaic Union.

Since the arrival of the Popular Party to the government in 2011, a whole series of rules have been followed to retroactively cut premiums for renewable energy, which has caused  the ruin of numerous small investors  who bet on this day for this source of energy

Regardless of the current brake, the future of energy will necessarily go through the development of photovoltaic solar energy, especially in a country like ours, which enjoys a privileged geographical position with high levels of irradiation during most of the year in practice The whole territory, which makes it especially attractive in order to reduce the costs of the energy produced.

What are the applications of photovoltaic solar energy today?

Photovoltaic solar systems can be divided into two
large groups:

Isolated grid systems

There are areas where access to the network is impossible or very
expensive, using solar energy for self-consumption.
This option prevents the power line from being taken to the point of consumption, thus avoiding
the high cost that this would entail.

The most common applications are:

  • Electrification of homes away from the power grid
  • Agricultural and livestock applications (water pumping, irrigation systems,
    greenhouse and farm lighting …)
  • Signaling and communications (air and sea navigation, road signs,
    repeaters …)
  • Street lighting (streets, monuments, bus stops …)
  • Water purification systems

In these applications, to be able to have electricity during the night or in periods of low
sunshine, an accumulation battery is necessary, with the corresponding charge controller.
When alternating current is necessary, an inverter is used.

It is also an ideal solution to improve the quality of life in remote communities through
sustainable solutions. There are already packages for lighting, schools, health centers
with refrigeration systems for vaccines, home systems and pumping systems.

Systems connected to the power grid

The photovoltaic system is connected to the electricity grid and an inverter transforms the direct current
generated by the system into alternating current similar to that of the grid.

Photovoltaic systems are easy to install regardless of whether it is an
existing or newly built building / dwelling and its maintenance is minimal. In addition, they provide
a clear economic profitability since they generate income from the first day and for more than 30

All the energy that the system produces can be sold to the electricity grid providing income,
differentiation and ecological commitment so the user continues to buy the electricity
consumed from the electricity grid at the established price, charging on the other hand the green kilowatts that his system Produces at a higher price.

[1] The scientific explanation of the photovoltaic effect was made by Albert Einstein in 1905, which is why he won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1921. Why it took so long to get that award is a little known story. I refer the interested reader to  this article  to inquire into the matter.

Publicaciones relacionadas

97 comentarios

  1. Недавно мне понадобилось 4 000 рублей на неотложные нужды. По совету друга, я посетил Там я нашел много полезных статей о том, как правильно взять онлайн займы и список проверенных МФО. И узнал, что некоторые из них предоставляют займы без процентов!

  2. Instagram порой становится источником полезной информации. Недавно я узнал о сайте wikzaim, предлагающем займы под 0%. Я решил проверить и был приятно удивлен обилием предложений от МФО. В итоге, 7000 рублей были моментально зачислены на мой счет.

  3. Планируете поездку в Туапсе и ищете отель, который станет идеальным местом для отдыха? Мы здесь, чтобы помочь вам! Наша команда специалистов подберет отель, соответствующий вашим требованиям и ожиданиям, чтобы отдых был незабываемым.

    Среди многообразия отелей Туапсе мы выделяем те, которые отличаются особой атмосферой, высоким качеством сервиса и удобным месторасположением. Вы можете быть уверены: каждый отель, рекомендуемый нами, проверен временем и множеством положительных отзывов.

    Откройте для себя Туапсе – город невероятной красоты и разнообразия, и позвольте нам сделать ваш отдых комфортным и запоминающимся.

  4. real eyelashes vs fake eyelashes VOLUME ENHANCING FOAM Become a Training Model Summer Handheld Fans Deals you’d rip someone’s hair out to score. Practice your dramatic turn and hairflip whether it’s long with highlights or short and purple. No matter what your style It’s all about trying new products, and getting deals even if you have to fight dirty to get to it first. We offer interest-free payments through Sezzle and Afterpay with 6-week payment plans. kind Words from Customers I attended your class in June and honestly it was the best class I’ve ever taken. After finishing with everything I didn’t feel too confident but I had hope. I practiced doing volume lashes when I could. I practiced on my sister, on the round sponges that came with the kit. Now doing them on friends but starting slowly. Thank you and Kaitlin for everything you’ve taught me!
    Similar to semi-permanent hair treatments, lash lifts are essentially perms for eyelashes. Done with a perming solution (most popular being thioglycolic acid) that will break down the bonds of your lashes to reform their shape. “The results are lifted, fuller, longer-looking lashes, making every client look like their well-rested, most beautiful self for six to eight weeks,” Elizabeth Taylor, esthetician and co-owner of True Beauty Brooklyn tells TZR. A skilled technician applies a series of creams and specially shaped silicone shields to give semi-permanent lift to your natural eyelashes for up to eight weeks. The procedure isn’t entirely new (it’s been around since the ’80s), but the old-school version used hard-to-control liquid solutions rather than non-running creams. A lash lift often also includes a tint, so you look like you’re wearing mascara from the moment you wake up. And it only takes about an hour from start to finish.

  5. Я всегда мечтал о том, чтобы попробовать свои силы в онлайн казино, и вот мой шанс наконец пришел благодаря сайту С его помощью я нашел все популярные казино и даже список тех, где предлагают бонусы на первый депозит. Пришло время веселья!

  6. Utilizamos un servicio de captcha sencillo, «Friendly Captcha», en nuestro sitio web (friendlycaptcha). En este sentido, destacaremos que no solamente podemos encontrar ropa interior premamá, que cuida cualquier aspecto con el objetivo de ofrecer la máxima comodidad a la futura mamá, sino que también tendremos la opción de encontrar sujetadores de lactancia o camisones de lactancia que están diseñados específicamente para satisfacer las necesidades en esta época tan importante en la vida de una mujer. Despacho gratis a RM sobre $25.000Regiones sobre $45.000 La lencería siempre se ha utilizado para crear una barrera protectora entre la ropa y la piel. En el siglo XVIII era, ante todo, una cuestión de higiene y estructura corporal. Pero la moralidad, obsesionada siempre con los genitales, introdujo sus tabúes, y la moda, tirana y despiadada, fue lanzando al mercado distintos diseños para adaptar el cuerpo de la mujer a la silueta del momento. La era victoriana fue estricta en la figura. Apretó las costillas hasta la asfixia y metió las piernas de las mujeres en una cárcel de hula hoops.
    La compañía inició en 2012 una estrategia de diversificación por la que, al estilo del combinado de marcas de Inditex (que tiene Zara, Massimo Dutti y Bershka, entre otras) iba a disponer de varios nombres. Así, planeó controlar, además de Mango, H.E. para hombre, Rebel para adolescentes, Violeta para tallas grandes y Sport & Intimate para la ropa interior y deportiva. Sin embargo, ahora solo Violeta tendrá nombre propio, mientras que el resto de líneas estarán bajo el paraguas Mango, y la línea de Rebel para adolescentes se ha aparcado. Ofertas exclusivas Intimissimi es una marca italiana de éxito, líder absoluto en el sector de la ropa interior en Europa. La lencería Intimissimi realiza el sueño cotidiano de cada mujer. Un estilo sofisticado y simple, lejos de exageraciones y agresividad.

Deja una respuesta

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *

Botón volver arriba