Solar power is by far the Earth’s most available energy source, easily capable of providing many times the total current energy demand. However, it is an intermittent energy source, meaning that solar power systems usually must be supplemented by another energy source such as grid energy (Grid Connect System) or stored energy (Stand Alone System).
A solar cell or photovoltaic cell (PV) is a device that converts light into electric current using the photoelectric effect, which can be used to power equipment or to recharge a battery. The first practical application of photovoltaics was to power orbiting satellites and other spacecraft, but today the majority of photovoltaic modules are used for grid connected power generation. In this case an inverter is required to convert the DC to AC. Solar power generation is also perfect for off grid power for remote dwellings where grid power is not feasible.
Photovoltaic cells require protection from the environment and are usually packaged tightly behind a glass sheet. When more power is required than a single cell can deliver, cells are electrically connected together to form photovoltaic modules, or solar panels. A single module is enough to power an emergency telephone, but for a house or a power plant the modules must be arranged in arrays.
In Australia, 21% of our energy is sourced from solar power, with 1 in 4 homes now having solar installed.