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Types of solar panels

Solar panels transform solar energy into current electricity, which if the prime purpose of any solar energy device. As science and technology forge ahead, there were several types of solar panels invented and distributed within energy industry. Moreover, modern advancements allow production and usage of solar energy not only on large enterprises, but in households. Solar energy becomes more and more available; one of the recent trends is embedding solar panels into small gadgets and devices. Therefore, the variety of solar panels is likely to encourage major improvements in everyday livelihood.

First of all, solar panels might be classified according to their capacity. Three main types might be recognized:

  1. Universal panels, which might be used in field environments. Such panels are usually appreciated by travelers, who are eager to deal with active and ecotourism.
  2. Small panels, which are embedded in small devices (such mobile phones, electronics, etc).
  3. Solar cell panel, which might be usually seen on solar energy plants.

In addition, the whole range of solar panels might be divided in three groups according their structure. In this context, there are photovoltaic cells, solar power stations and solar collectors. Each type might compete in popularity and distribution, which is why they are worth considering in details.

Photoelectric converter may be defined as a device processing power via the photovoltaic effect. Solar panel is formed, when several photoelectric converters are united.  Photoconductivity is a main factor, which defines optical properties, and, therefore, the effectiveness of the panel. This phenomenon is preconditioned by the internal photoelectric effect, which occurs while irradiating the semiconductor with sunlight. Nowadays the United States are world leader in usage of photoelectric converters, which hold 405 share on the global market. A lot of companies also deal with producing materials, required for photoelectric converters. They are HEMLOCK and USA MEMC, AsiMi, SGSil (the Unied States), Wacker (Germany), Tokuyama Soda, Mitsubishi MaterialPoly Si, Sumitomo Titanium (Japan) and Italy MEMC (Italy).

Solar power plant is a solar installation, which uses concentrated solar energy to drive other various machines: steam and gas turbines, thermoelectric cells, etc. Surprisingly, solar plants are used not only to generate energy, but facilitate other industries as well. Among other specific purposes it is appropriate to admit heating and desalination of sea water. The main point of plants structure is lenses, which help to concentrate energy. In particular, nowadays they are replaced with large mirrors due to big weight and high cost of the first ones. Mirrors are usually made of conventional glass or polished aluminum. Solar power plants are the prerogative of countries located in tropical areas (Montalto di Castro PV Power Plant and San Bellino PV Power Plant in Italy, Lopburi PV Power Plant in Thailand). However, the biggest one is located in Ukraine - Perovo Solar Power Station.

Solar collecting systems are low-temperature heating units, which are used for autonomous hot water supply both for residential and industrial premises.Solar collectors also might be divided into three types:  flat (represented with element-absorber, which absorbs solar radiation), vacuum (laminated glass coating) and collector-concentrators (mirror surface).

By Maria Kruk, an author for

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