Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect. The photovoltaic effect refers to photons of light knocking electrons into a higher state of energy to create electricity. Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels comprised of a number of cells containing a photovoltaic material.
Materials presently used for photovoltaic include monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride and copper indium selenide /sulfide. Due to the growing demand for renewable energy sources, the manufacture of solar cells and photovoltaic arrays has advanced considerably in recent years.
As of 2010, solar photovoltaic generates electricity in more than 100 countries and, while yet comprising a tiny fraction of the 4800 Gigawatt (GW) total global power-generating capacity from all sources, is the fastest growing power-generation technology in the world. Between 2004 and 2009, grid-connected PV capacity increased at an annual average rate of 60 percent, to some 21 GW.
Driven by advances in technology and increases in manufacturing scale and sophistication, the cost of photovoltaic has declined steadily since the first solar cells were manufactured. Net metering and financial incentives, such as preferential feed-in tariffs for solar-generated electricity; have supported solar PV installations in many countries.
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