Solar photovoltaic, often simply called PV or solar power, transforms light into electricity
PV exploits the so-called photoelectric effect. When light shines onto the PV panels, electrons are emitted.
PV panels use semiconductors with electrons that are only lightly bound and can easily be emitted.
The market keeps developing new types and materials for solar PV panels. Normally, silicon is a key material.
Solar power should be installed to fit consumer needs. Generally, we can distinguish between closed stations and stations connected to the grid. On our German pages, we provide a guideline for operators of PV stations.
In 2007, worldwide installed PV capacity was roughly 9200 MW. The electricity generated covers 0.25% of demand in Europe. Germany is considered the world leader in manufacturing and installing PV stations. At the end of 2009, Germany had an installed capacity of 8000 MW. The 6400 GWh this generates covers 1% of German domestic consumption.
The largest producers of solar power in the EU are Germany, Spain and Italy. Europe is the world’s largest solar power producer, with a share of 81% in global installed capacity.
Generating electricity from solar power is much more expensive than other generation technologies. Plants connected to the grid are almost exclusively built where support schemes ensure a price of more than 35 cent/kWh. Other technologies only have to deal with costs in the area of 5-8 cent/kWh.
On our German pages you will find a list of websites that provide more in-depth information on solar power – technical details, potentials etc.