SOLON Residential buildings

Solar technology FAQs:

What is photovoltaics?

Photovoltaics is the direct conversion of solar energy into electric current using solar cells.

How do photovoltaics work?

When light strikes a solar cell, it creates an electric voltage between the surface facing the light and the surface turned away from the light. When the electric circuit is closed, electric current flows. (Source: DGS)

What does a solar power system consist of?

The base unit of a PV system is the solar module. Several modules are connected to a solar generator. Because the generator creates direct current, it requires an inverter to convert the direct current into alternating current for standard electrical applications. The electricity is then fed into the public power grid via a meter.

What is a module made of?

The main components of the modules are the solar cells. Several of these cells are combined into one module. The module is then laminated in a plastic layer and framed between a glass cover plate and a rear panel.

What steps are involved in the value creation chain for module creation?

Silicon raw material is derived from silicon-rich rock (e.g. sand). The silicon is melted to form blocks known as ingots. The ingots are then cut into paper-thin discs called wafers. The wafers are then used to make solar cells that form the main constituent of module production.

What kinds of PV systems are there?

In general, there are two different kinds of systems:

1. Structure
The most common type of mounting is the rooftop installation. This method makes particularly efficient use of space. Further mounting options include rooftop integration and building integrated systems.

2. Freestanding
Freestanding plants are systems that are mounted on the ground. The modules can be fixed or installed so that they track the sun.

How is a photovoltaic system different from a solar thermal system?

Instead of generating electricity from sunlight, a solar thermal system generates heat in the form of hot water or heat energy.


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