Solar photovoltaic is a technology that converts solar energy into useful energy forms by absorbing solar photon (particles of light that operate as individual units of energy). Photovoltaic cell is also known as solar cell. Solar cell is an electrical device that translates light energy into electric energy or electricity using photovoltaic effect. Solar cell is a type of photoelectric cell which on exposure to light can produce and support an electric current without any external voltage source. However, it requires an external load for power consumption.
Solar PV modules can be clustered together as an array of parallel or series connected modules to give any level of power requirements, from mere watts to kilowatt and megawatt size. Different types of solar cells are cadmium telluride solar cell, polycrystalline, hybrid solar cell, buried contact solar cell, dye-sensitized solar cell, plastic solar cell, thin film solar cell, monocrystalline solar cell, plasmonic solar cell, and polymer solar cell among others.
CPV (concentrated photovoltaic) technology employs optics such as curved mirrors or lenses to collect large amount of sunlight on a small area of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells in order to generate electricity. CPV systems offer several advantages over non-concentrated photovoltaics. As a smaller area of photovoltaic material is required, CPV can save money on the cost of the solar cells. CPV requires less photovoltaic material to capture the same sunlight as non-concentrating PV. CPV make use of high-efficiency but expensive multi-junction cells cost-effectively viable due to smaller space requirements.
However, in order to get sunlight focused on the small photovoltaic area, CPV systems need extra spending on solar trackers, concentrating optics (mirrors or lenses) and cooling systems. Owing to this of these extra costs, CPVs are far less common compared to non-concentrated photovoltaics. Nevertheless, ongoing research and development is trying to improve CPV technology and lower its costs.
The most widespread segmentation of CPV modules can be done on the basis of degree of concentration, which can be expressed in number of suns. Different types of CPVs are LCPV (low concentration photovoltaics), medium concentration photovoltaics, HCPV (high concentration photovoltaics) and luminescent solar concentrators.
According to Plastics Institute of America, Europe is expected to remain the largest regional market with 16.48 GW of PV demands which accounts around half of the global demand. Asia-Pacific was the second largest market fueled by the remarkable growth of the Chinese market. China is expected to outpace Germany in the coming year in order to become the leading PV consumer.
Government renewable targets, financial incentives, technology cost reductions are three major forces who are currently driving the adoption of solar across the globe. Government policies are considerable drivers for solar photovoltaic market. By 2020, solar is predicted to be cost competitive to traditional electricity, independent of government policies and subsidies across most of the world.
Some of the key players in this market are BP Solar International, Opel International Inc., Emcore Corporation, Prism Solar Technologies, Inc., Bloo Solar, Solar Tec International AG, HelioVolt Corporation, Zytech Solar, Energy Innovations, Solar Systems PTY, Ltd., Concentrix Solar GmbH, 1366 Technologies Inc., Pyron Solar, Whitfield Solar Ltd., Abengoa Solar, Arima Ecoenergy, Konarka Technologies Inc., Amonix Inc., 3G Solar, Pacific Solartech Inc., Greenvolts, JX Crystals, Everphoton Energy Corporation, Soliant Energy Inc., Cool Earth Solar, Nano Solar, SunFlake A/S, and others.