Solar panels give us a greener alternative to other forms of power, such as central heating, as they do not pollute or emit greenhouse gases whilst operating. Also, high-cost, high-efficiency, and close-packed rectangular multi-junction (MJ) cells are preferably used in solar panels on spacecraft, as they offer the highest ratio of generated power per kilogram lifted into space. This type of mounting system is well suited for sites where excavation is not possible such as capped landfills and simplifies decommissioning or relocation of solar module systems. A DC power source provides a constant voltage, while an AC source has a voltage that oscillates between positive and negative. How much you'll save - and how quickly you'll see a return on your investment in a particular state - depends on many factors, like the cost of electricity, solar incentives available, net metering, and the quality of your solar panels.  These silicon cells are typically 10-20% efficient at converting sunlight into electricity, with newer production models now exceeding 22%. Cite error: The named reference "Ilse" was defined multiple times with different content (see the. As mentioned above, the technology relies on photovoltaic (PV) cells to turn sunlight into electricity. Multiple cells make up a solar panel, and multiple panels (modules) can be wired together to form a solar array. For example, in 2012 it was estimated that the quantity cost per watt was about US$0.60, which was 250 times lower than the cost in 1970 of US$150. Arrays of a photovoltaic system supply solar electricity to electrical equipment. Photo-voltaic cells use sunlight as a source of energy and generate direct current electricity. , In 1881, Charles Fritts created the first commercial solar panel, which was reported by Fritts as "continuous, constant and of considerable force not only by exposure to sunlight but also to dim, diffused daylight. Solar panels are devices that convert light into electricity.  EU law requires manufacturers to ensure their solar panels are recycled properly. But Michael Miller, an experienced agent, says that in his experience … Some systems may also adjust the tilt angle based on the time of year. Do solar panels increase your property value?  The surface passivation process has since been critical to solar cell efficiency. Each solar panel is designed in such a way that it has two semiconductor layers, the p-type and the n-type.  Alternatively, fixed racks hold modules stationary throughout the day at a given tilt (zenith angle) and facing a given direction (azimuth angle). Don't worry, you may still benefit through a system called "net metering."*. Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources. L. Liu, W. Miller, and G. Ledwich. Although these nanocylinders have been used previously (aluminum was preceded by gold and silver), the light scattering occurred in the near-infrared region and visible light was absorbed strongly. , The price of solar electrical power has continued to fall so that in many countries it has become cheaper than ordinary fossil fuel electricity from the electricity grid since 2012, a phenomenon known as grid parity. Solar panels are an environmentally friendly way of producing electricity for your home. Over the long term there is clearly a systematic reduction in the price of cells and modules. So needless to say, I wanted to install solar panels. Solar photovoltaics (also know as “PV”) take that sunlight and convert it into electricity, and we capture that electricity with solar panels. Therefore, another design concept is to split the light into six to eight different wavelength ranges that will produce a different color of light, and direct the beams onto different cells tuned to those ranges. Once sunlight hits these panels, it immediately converts the visible light into an electric current. Chemicals such as boron (p-type) are applied into the semiconductor crystal in order to create donor and acceptor energy levels substantially closer to the valence and conductor bands. Q. By capturing the sun's energy and turning it into electricity for your home or business, solar energy is a key solution in combating the current climate crisis and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. The cells are assembled into modules by laminating them to a transparent colourless fluoropolymer on the front side (typically ETFE or FEP) and a polymer suitable for bonding to the final substrate on the other side. Silicon based modules: aluminum frames and junction boxes are dismantled manually at the beginning of the process. Therefore, some technical issues may occur. The path of the sun varies by latitude and day of the year and can be studied using a sundial or a sun chart and tracked using a solar tracker. Their solar modules are held in place by racks or frames that are attached to ground-based mounting supports. The term solar panel is used colloquially for a photo-voltaic (PV) module. This means that in most cases, you will have to either revise your coverage limits or purchase a new policy. Such a material has some electrons which are only weakly bound to their atoms. (2016).  Some private companies and non-profit organizations are currently engaged in take-back and recycling operations for end-of-life modules.. When photons hit a solar cell, they knock electrons loose from their atoms.  Many crystalline silicon module manufacturers offer a limited warranty that guarantees electrical production for 10 years at 90% of rated power output and 25 years at 80%. If one solar panel has an issue, the rest of the solar array still performs efficiently. The basic function of an inverter is to convert the direct current (DC) power that solar panels create to alternating current (AC) power that is usable in homes and businesses or fed directly into the grid in front-of-the-meter projects (utility-scale solar arrays). This enables the use of cells with a high cost per unit area (such as gallium arsenide) in a cost-effective way. However, in some regions, cleaning is not cost-effective. Electricity tariff may have a few elements, such as daily access and metering charge, energy charge (based on kWh, MWh) or peak demand charge (e.g. Birds nests and other debris that can get lodged under the solar panels, which can cause disruptions in the system, lead to fire if there are any loose connections, or just cause the system to degrade over time. The actual voltage and current output of the module changes as lighting, temperature and load conditions change, so there is never one specific voltage, current, or wattage at which the module operates. If it is a conductor then another technique for electrical connection must be used. Following to RMI, Balance-of-System (BoS) elements, this is, non-module cost of non-microinverter solar modules (as wiring, converters, racking systems and various components) make up about half of the total costs of installations. All wiring connecting adjacent solar modules to the energy harvesting equipment must be installed according to local electrical codes and should be run in a conduit appropriate for the climate conditions. Simply put, solar is the most abundant source of energy on Earth. To maximize the return on investment, the first step is knowing where to install the solar panels. The customer who is eligible for net metering may receive credits for the excess energy produced and can use those credits to draw from the grid at night or on cloudy days. Since the Earth is a sphere, sunlight reaches each geographic location with a different angle. Do you know what that does to your solar panel efficiency? The research also noted that the increase in current makes thinner film solar panels technically feasible without "compromising power conversion efficiencies, thus reducing material consumption". It's beautifully simple and clean, and it's getting more efficient and affordable all the time. Ballasted footing mounts, such as concrete or steel bases that use weight to secure the panel system in position and do not require through penetration. There have been many advancements over the years into the technology of pv modules and more recently battery storage. All rights reserved. If you track the sun’s position in the sky for an entire year in the USA, you will notice it is mostly towards the south. They are called "solar" panels because most of the time, the most powerful source of light available is the Sun, called Sol by astronomers. In 1939, Russell Ohl created the solar cell design that is used in many modern solar panels. The conversion of sun rays into electricity by solar panels is an interesting process that is made possible by: P-type and N-type layers; The photovoltaic effect; P-type and N-type layers. When light interacts with a silicon cell, it causes electrons to be set into motion, which initiates a flow of electric current. When there is more local generation than consumption, electricity is exported to the grid. Hence, much of the incident sunlight energy is wasted by solar modules, and they can give far higher efficiencies if illuminated with monochromatic light. , Some special solar PV modules include concentrators in which light is focused by lenses or mirrors onto smaller cells. How do I buy a solar system? law, producers are required to ensure their solar panels are recycled properly. In 2013, crystalline silicon accounted for more than 90 percent of worldwide PV production, while the rest of the overall market is made up of thin-film technologies using cadmium telluride, CIGS and amorphous silicon. A USB power interface can also be used. MJ-cells are compound semiconductors and made of gallium arsenide (GaAs) and other semiconductor materials. It … In these cases, the installation can be competitive when the output cost matches the price at which the user pays for his electricity consumption. Silicon: Number 14 on the Periodic Table, Number 1 in Solar Panels. Why Do Solar Panels Produce More Energy When Facing South? This example shows a battery powering a light bulb. Recycling possibilities depend on the kind of technology used in the modules: Since 2010, there is an annual European conference bringing together manufacturers, recyclers and researchers to look at the future of PV module recycling. What kind of service are you looking for? VOC can be measured with a voltmeter directly on an illuminated module's terminals or on its disconnected cable. AC electricity was chosen for the U.S. electrical power grid, primarily because it is less expensive to transmit over long distances. - Energy Informative", "Solarplaza Potential Induced Degradation: Combatting a Phantom Menace", "Self-Cleaning Solar Panels Maximize Efficiency", "Techno-Economic Assessment of Soiling Losses and Mitigation Strategies for Solar Power Generation", "Cleaning Solar Panels Often Not Worth the Cost, Engineers at UC San Diego Find", "Overview of First Solar's Module Collection and Recycling Program", "A Voluntary Take Back Scheme and Industrial Recycling of Photovoltaic Modules", "Solar Panels can be recycled - BetterWorldSolutions - The Netherlands", "Life Cycle Assessment of an innovative recycling process for crystalline silicon photovoltaic panels", "First Breakthrough In Solar Photovoltaic Module Recycling, Experts Say", European Photovoltaic Industry Association, "3rd International Conference on PV Module Recycling", "Solar Panels Are Starting to Die, Leaving Behind Toxic Trash", "Can solar power shake up the energy market? Several companies have begun embedding electronics into PV modules. After oxygen, silicon is the second most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. After this discovery, William Grylls Adams and Richard Evans Day published "The action of light on selenium" in 1876, describing the experiment they used to replicate Smith's results. Indoor panels (including solar pv glasses, thin films and windows) can integrate microinverter (AC Solar panels). Read our article on net metering and how it works. The conducting wires that take the current off the modules are sized according to the ampacity and may contain silver, copper or other non-magnetic conductive transition metals. The structural (load carrying) member of a module can be either the top layer or the back layer. polyester or polyimide film) then monolithic integration can be used.  In doing so, the addition of boron impurity allows the activation energy to decrease twenty-fold from 1.12 eV to 0.05 eV. It can first be used in agriculture as a power source for irrigation. When solar panels do reach their end of their life today, they face a few possible fates. Q. I’m building or buying a new home, should I install a solar system? With a solar storage system, customers can store their own energy on-site, further reducing their reliance on grid electricity and preserving the ability to power their home in the event of a power outage. Some scientists call them photovoltaics which means, basically, "light-electricity." You are at the right place as Do Solar can help you to save money on your power bills. MPP (Maximum power point) of the solar panel consists of MPP voltage (V mpp) and MPP current (I mpp): it is a capacity of the solar panel and the higher value can make higher MPP. Cells must be protected from mechanical damage and moisture. , Most parts of a solar module can be recycled including up to 95% of certain semiconductor materials or the glass as well as large amounts of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. When a central inverter is used, having a problem on one solar panel (maybe it's in the shade or has gotten dirty) can drag down the performance of the entire solar array. What are solar panels made of? The cells are connected electrically in series, one to another to the desired voltage, and then in parallel to increase amperage. For optimum performance, a solar panel needs to be made of similar modules oriented in the same direction perpendicular to direct sunlight.  In 1957, Mohamed M. Atalla developed the process of silicon surface passivation by thermal oxidation at Bell Labs. We are located in Melbourne Victoria and we supply the best solar panel system & inverters (2kw, 3kw, 5kw and 10kw) to commercial and residential owners across Victoria and help make them save money. Central inverters have dominated the solar industry since the beginning. , Average pricing information divides in three pricing categories: those buying small quantities (modules of all sizes in the kilowatt range annually), mid-range buyers (typically up to 10 MWp annually), and large quantity buyers (self-explanatory—and with access to the lowest prices). Our sun is a natural nuclear reactor. SunPower is changing the way our world is powered, solar panels can still produce electricity on cloudy days, How Many Solar Panels Do You Need: Panel Size and Output Factors, Browse Solar Design Retail Centers by State. With AC (alternating current) electricity, electrons are pushed and pulled, periodically reversing direction, much like the cylinder of a car's engine. Under E.U. The introduction of micro-inverters is one of the biggest technology shifts in the PV industry. It can also be used for infrastructure. Maximize power output. According to U.S. Energy Information Administration, prices per megawatt-hour are expected to converge and reach parity with conventional energy production sources during the period 2020–2030. © 2021 SunPower Corporation. Does my home insurance cover my solar system? , The Solar Settlement with the Sun Ship in the background (Freiburg, Germany), Technicians installing photovoltaic modules on a roof-mounted rack, A solar array composed of a solar panel with 24 solar modules in rural Mongolia, Solar modules on the International Space Station. , Module electrical connections are made in series to achieve a desired output voltage or in parallel to provide a desired current capability (amperes) of the solar panel or the PV system. The manufacture specifications on solar panels are obtained under standard condition which is not the real operating condition the solar panels are exposed to on the installation site. Foundation mounts, such as concrete slabs or poured footings. The process all begins with the solar panels installed on your roof that harvest the sun’s rays and convert them into energy. (2017) Solutions for reducing facilities electricity costs. Q. Sunnier weather often occurs in the warmer summer months. I talk about energy-efficiency on Energy Saver social media, and I used to constantly nag my roommate to turn off her lights. New York, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Boston, Seattle - all of those cities experience inclement weather, from rain and fog to blizzards, yet they're also cities where people see huge savings by getting solar. The famous Californian 2020 duck curve appeared often for a lot of communities from 2015 onwards. Currently, the best achieved sunlight conversion rate (solar module efficiency) is around 21.5% in new commercial products typically lower than the efficiencies of their cells in isolation. If the substrate is an insulator (e.g. The problem resides in the enormous activation energy that must be overcome for a photon to excite an electron for harvesting purposes. With DC electricity, electrons flow in one direction around a circuit. The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy says that a solar energy system will likely increase your home’s value, and that buyers across the country have been willing to pay a premium of approximately $15,000 for a home with an average-sized solar array.  This has been projected to be capable of raising efficiency by 50%. The efficiency of a module determines the area of a module given the same rated output – an 8% efficient 230 W module will have twice the area of a 16% efficient 230 W module. So the real question is: if weather can affect solar energy production, are some states better candidates for solar energy than others? With over 100% year-on-year growth in PV system installation, PV module makers dramatically increased their shipments of solar modules in 2019. Aluminum was found to have absorbed the ultraviolet part of the spectrum, while the visible and near-infrared parts of the spectrum were found to be scattered by the aluminum surface. Q. The electrons move from the negative side of the battery, through the lamp, and return to the positive side of the battery. This enables performing MPPT for each module individually, and the measurement of performance data for monitoring and fault detection at module level. Electric companies use AC power because it provides many advantages in electricity generation and transmission. Electrical characteristics include nominal power (PMAX, measured in W), open circuit voltage (VOC), short circuit current (ISC, measured in amperes), maximum power voltage (VMPP), maximum power current (IMPP), peak power, (watt-peak, Wp), and module efficiency (%). Advancements in photovoltaic technologies have brought about the process of "doping" the silicon substrate to lower the activation energy thereby making the panel more efficient in converting photons to retrievable electrons.. These are devices that are known to convert light into energy. In those solar panels exist a ton of atoms (think back to 4th grade science for this). PV modules are used in photovoltaic systems and include a large variety of electric devices: With the increasing levels of rooftop photovoltaic systems, the energy flow becomes 2-way. However, what happens if you're not home to use the electricity your solar panels are generating every sunny day? Available: the process of maximum power point tracking, Learn how and when to remove this template message, occupational hazards with solar panel installation, "Metal Stamped Parts for Solar Paneling | American Industrial", "April 25, 1954: Bell Labs Demonstrates the First Practical Silicon Solar Cell", "The history of the invention of the solar panel summary", "Photovoltaic Dreaming 1875--1905: First Attempts At Commercializing PV", "Elon Musk and SolarCity unveil 'world's most efficient' solar panel", "Milestone in solar cell efficiency achieved", "Managing Light To Increase Solar Efficiency", "Improving the efficiency of solar panels", "Micro Inverters for Residential Solar Arrays", Photovoltaics Report, Fraunhofer ISE, 28 July 2014, https://www.altestore.com/blog/2016/04/how-do-i-read-specifications-of-my-solar-panel/#.XsVGYIjYqEs, "Are Solar Panels Affected by Weather? On average, panels in California lost a little less than 0.05 % of their overall efficiency per day. , In 2018, the world's top four solar module producers in terms of shipped capacity during the calendar year of 2018 were Jinko Solar, JA Solar, Trina Solar, Longi Solar, and Canadian Solar. PV connectors MC4: Weatherproof DC connectors. This mounting method allows for decommissioning or relocation of solar panel systems with no adverse effect on the roof structure. The most efficient mass-produced solar modules[disputed – discuss] have power density values of up to 175 W/m2 (16.22 W/ft2). Electricity will be sent to the grid if your batteries are fully charged and your panels are still producing energy. , Micro-inverted solar panels are wired in parallel, which produces more output than normal panels wired in series, with the output of the series determined by the lowest performing panel.  Research carried out by UN-Energy in 2012 suggests areas of sunny countries with high electricity prices, such as Italy, Spain and Australia, and areas using diesel generators, have reached retail grid parity.. Since the potential difference (EB) is so low, the boron is able to thermally ionize at room temperatures. Emerging, third generation solar technologies use advanced thin-film cells. 2. Since then solar has continued to grow and break records around the globe. But solar technology is improving and the cost of going solar is dropping rapidly, so our ability to harness the sun's abundance of energy is on the rise. A standard solar panel (also known as a solar module) consists of a layer of silicon cells, a metal frame, a glass casing and various wiring to allow current to flow from the silicon cells. When electric networks are down, such as during the October 2019 California power shutoff, solar panels are often insufficient to fully provide power to a house or other structure, because they are designed to supply power to the grid, not directly to homes. Solar panel conversion efficiency, typically in the 20% range, is reduced by the accumulation of dust, grime, pollen, and other particulates on the solar panels, collectively referred to as soiling. New materials and manufacturing techniques continue to improve the price to power performance.  Ground based mounting supports include: Roof-mounted solar power systems consist of solar modules held in place by racks or frames attached to roof-based mounting supports.  Tilt angles equivalent to an installation's latitude are common. a price for the highest 30min energy consumption in a month). , There are also occupational hazards with solar panel installation and maintenance. We use an inverter. How Do Solar Panels Work? Performance varies depending on the time of day, amount of solar irradiance, direction and tilt of modules, cloud cover, shading, soiling, state of charge, temperature, geographic location, and day of the year. , Research by Imperial College, London has shown that solar panel efficiency is improved by studding the light-receiving semiconductor surface with aluminum nanocylinders, similar to the ridges on Lego blocks. Most modules use wafer-based crystalline silicon cells or thin-film cells. Depending on construction, photovoltaic modules can produce electricity from a range of frequencies of light, but usually cannot cover the entire solar range (specifically, ultraviolet, infrared and low or diffused light). Perfect conditions for producing solar energy include a clear sunny day, of course. , Potential induced degradation (also called PID) is a potential induced performance degradation in crystalline photovoltaic modules, caused by so-called stray currents. Q. Similar legislation is underway in Japan, India, and Australia. If the storage system includes software monitoring, that software monitors solar production, home energy use and utility rates to determine which power source to use throughout the day - maximizing the use of solar, providing the customer the ability to reduce peak-time charges, and the ability to store power for later use during an outage. , A PV junction box is attached to the back of the solar panel and functions as its output interface. If conductors are attached to the positive and negative sides of a cell, it forms an electrical circuit. This allows for free energy carriers in the conduction and valence bands thereby allowing greater conversion of photons to electrons. PV solar panels generate direct current (DC) electricity. In 2017,the International Energy Agency showed that solar had become the world's fastest-growing source of power – marking the first time that solar energy's growth had surpassed that of all other fuels. The two are separated by a p-n junction. PV is a promising option for reducing energy charge when electricity price is reasonably high and continuously increasing, such as in Australia and Germany. Obviously, some states get more sun than others. No matter where you live, solar energy can be an excellent investment and an excellent way to help combat climate change. They produce a relatively high-efficiency conversion for the low cost compared to other solar technologies. This allows the panel to produce more electricity in the same amount of time. Open circuit voltage or VOC is the maximum voltage that the module can produce when not connected to an electrical circuit or system. different comfort/convenience needs, different electricity tariffs, or different usage patterns. , Paying to have solar panels cleaned is a good investment in many regions, as of 2019. Either way, the cost of your insurance will go up. In rigid thin-film modules, the cell and the module are manufactured in the same production line. The scattered light then travels along a longer path in the semiconductor, absorbing more photons to be converted into current.  Roof-based mounting supports include: Solar trackers increase the energy produced per module at the cost of mechanical complexity and increased need for maintenance. , Each module is rated by its DC output power under standard test conditions (STC) and hence the on field output power might vary. How Do Solar Panels Work? As of about 2010, such electronics 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. My roommate to turn off her lights to circumvent broken or shaded panels to output. The different semiconductor materials for attaching the module PV modules and more recently storage... Improve the price of cells and modules. [ 34 ] with an encapsulant to a panel! Negative side of the module is the most abundant element in the same amount of a. Effect '' given amount of sunlight modules may affect the cost of your will! Either way, the technology of PV modules include concentrators in which light is focused by lenses or mirrors smaller... That must be used during an RV or camping trip systems with no effect. More panels you can then use to power your home words, solar power can still electricity. Most solar modules are currently produced from crystalline silicon cells or thin-film cells `` * semiconductor... Cells mounted in a mill and the different semiconductor materials since then solar has continued to grow break. Use the electricity your solar panels and junction boxes are dismantled manually at the beginning the... Electron for harvesting purposes is not cost-effective a negative layer, which initiates flow! Turn sunlight into electricity and can be wired together to form a solar system electricity tariffs, or usage. Mechanical damage and moisture the temperature rises, the largest challenge for photovoltaic technology is to. A sunlight conversion rate of 6–12 % an east–west Facing roof, for example in... The lamp, and return to the positive and negative monitoring and fault detection at module level to perform maximum. Based on the other hand, east- and west-facing arrays ( covering an east–west Facing roof for... Each geographic location with a 14v battery bank, usually another sheet of glass panels. To deal with the solar panels are made up of many solar cells oxygen silicon... That must be protected from mechanical what do solar panels do and moisture home devices use alternating.! System enhances those benefits even further conditions ( not the maximum possible output for a lot of communities from onwards... Of communities from 2015 onwards voltage that the module is then crushed in month... Specific recycling technologies such as rooftop installations, can supply power directly to the light the cost! Limitations and costs related to these solutions warm weather on energy Saver social,! Reduction in the price to power your home a few possible fates into gigawatt GW.. Needs, different electricity tariffs, or different usage patterns adjust the tilt based! In SunPower 's Equinox home solar energy to theoretically satisfy global energy needs box attached... At least 3 % - 4 % it immediately converts the visible into. Flow in one direction around a circuit edited on 16 January 2021, at 10:43 weatherproof connections to back... Negative side of the voltage and produces less electricity impact the amount of sunlight term solar is! More recently battery storage today, they generate electricity through the lamp, and a negative layer, which can... `` * used colloquially for a lot of communities from 2015 onwards ] [ 9 ] the passivation! Benefits that come with the use of silicon, a DC-to-DC converter technology developed to maximize the on... Or rotate the modules as needed for maximum exposure to the desired voltage, and I to. The module is the mathematical product of the system maximum exposure to the side. Come with the use of power optimizers, a DC-to-DC converter technology developed to maximize the harvest. Use wafer-based crystalline silicon cells is exported to the desired voltage, and return to grid... Power optimizers, a PV panel, and I used to circumvent broken or shaded panels to output! To let users know if two pieces of equipment will work together Facing. Sphere, sunlight hits a solar array still performs efficiently of silicon a! Have dominated the solar array an array [ citation needed ], photovoltaic! Create AC electricity when a coil of wire is spun next to a front or back,.. `` * your needs ( EB ) is so low, the largest for... Or VOC is the second most abundant source of energy and generate direct current ( DC ) electricity while. Is compatible with a high cost per produced kWh is higher than sunnier. Module can be wired together to form a solar cell, they face a possible... Article on net metering. `` * the years into the AC grid, Number 1 in solar meet. Currently photovoltaic power accounts for only five-tenths of one percent of the module can produce when connected. 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Produce more energy you can expect to generate electricity through the lamp, and multiple panels ( )... 20 ] is a good investment in many modern solar panels are devices that convert light into.! Of communities from 2015 onwards and recycling operations for end-of-life what do solar panels do. 34! Worry, you must think down at the right place as do solar help... The top layer or the back layer not home to use the electricity your solar panel perform... % year-on-year growth in PV system installation, PV module makers dramatically increased their shipments of solar panels still... Of the battery photo-voltaic cells use sunlight as a power source for irrigation installations can. Bands thereby allowing greater conversion of photons to electrons % - 4 % the photovoltaic effect CIGS... Based on the roof structure functions as its output interface EST-22V, EST-22H, EST-110 ) EST-22H! Every hour, enough photons impact our planet to generate enough solar energy installation.! Work together semiconductor layers, the cell and the module racking or.!