Advantages of Photovoltaic Power
Photovoltaic solar power is one of the most promising renewable energy sources in the world. Compared to nonrenewable sources such as coal, gas, oil, and nuclear, the advantages are clear: it’s totally non-polluting, has no moving parts to break down, and does not require much maintenance. A very important characteristic of photovoltaic power generation is that it does not require a large scale installation. Solar systems can be installed where they are needed, on each house, business or school, using an area that is already developed, and allowing individual users to generate their own power, quietly and safely.
Rooftop power can be added as more homes or businesses are added to a community, thereby allowing power generation to keep in step with growing needs without having to over build generation capacity as is often the case with conventional large scale power systems. But even when photovoltaic power is compared to other renewable energy sources such as wind power, water power, and even solar thermal power, there are some obvious advantages. First, wind and water power rely on turbines to turn generators to produce electricity. Turbines and generators have moving parts that can break down, that require maintenance, and are noisy. Even solar thermal energy needs a turbine or other mechanical device to change the heat energy of the sun or earth into mechanical energy for a generator to produce electric power. Photovoltaic power, by contrast, is generated directly from the sun. PV systems have no moving parts, require virtually no maintenance, and have cells that last for decades.
Until solar power came along, people who wanted to live in remote areas frequently had to pay large fees to have a power cable run to their house. Now, a remote home can be virtually self-sufficient with solar power. Even in areas where power lines are nearby, solar may be a viable alternative to being connected to a power company. An average home has more than enough roof area to produce enough solar electricity to supply all of its power needs. With an inverter, which converts direct current (DC) power from the solar cells to alternating current (AC), which is what most home appliances run on, a solar home can look and operate very much like a home that is connected to a power line. You can also charge a bank of batteries during the day and use that energy to power your home at night.