Solar power is the conversion of sunlight to electricity. Sunlight can be converted directly into electricity using photovoltaics (PV). A solar cell, or photovoltaic cell (PV), is a device that converts light into electric current using the photoelectric effect. This is based on the discovery by Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel who noticed that some materials release electrons when hit with rays of photons from light, which produces an electrical current.
Solar energy is not available at night, making energy storage an important issue in order to provide the continuous availability of energy.
Both wind power and solar power are intermittent energy sources, meaning that all available output must be taken when it is available and either stored for when it can be used, or transported, over transmission lines, to where it can be used.
ScienceDaily (Mar. 3, 2009) — A new study on
the installed costs of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems in the U.S. shows
that the average cost of these systems declined significantly from 1998 to 2007,
but remained relatively flat during the last two years of this period.
The study examined 37,000 grid-connected PV systems installed between 1998 and 2007 in 12 states. It found that average installed costs, in terms of real 2007 dollars per installed watt, declined from $10.50 per watt in 1998 to $7.60 per watt in 2007.
Costs differ by region and type of system
Solar Packaged Systems:
A number of companies and manufacturers put together solar packaged systems-complete packages that take the nitty-gritty 'component picking' work out of buying a solar energy system.
These can come in the following sizes:
|Grid-inter-tie kits that retail for around $20,000 but will include everything you need. A basic starter kit will retail for $8,000 to $10,000.|
|Cabin or remote kits that will give you electric power for your off-grid home. These can start at $1,500, up to a full size system for $5,000.|
|RV kits starting at under $1,000. These are used to power a few small appliances for your RV, to give you some of the benefits of home while you are on the road.|