Solar power

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about generation of electricity using solar energy. For other uses of solar energy, see Solar energy.
Not to be confused with Solar luminosity.

A solar photovoltaic system array on a farm in Ceres
The first three concentrated solar power (CSP) units of Spain’s Solnova Solar Power Station in the foreground, with the PS10 and PS20 solar power towers in the background
Average insolation. Note that this is for a horizontal surface, whereas solar panels are normally propped up at an angle and receive more energy per unit area, especially at high latitudes. Potential of solar energy. The small black dots show land area required to replace the world primary energy supply with solar power.

Solar power is the conversion of sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics (PV), or indirectly using concentrated solar power. Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. Photovoltaic cells convert light into an electric current using the photovoltaic effect.[1]

The International Energy Agency projected in 2014 that under its “high renewables” scenario, by 2050, solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar power would contribute about 16 and 11 percent, respectively, of the worldwide electricity consumption, and solar would be the world’s largest source of electricity. Most solar installations would be in China and India.[2]

Photovoltaics were initially solely used as a source of electricity for small and medium-sized applications, from the calculator powered by a single solar cell to remote homes powered by an off-grid rooftop PV system. As the cost of solar electricity has fallen, the number of grid-connected solar PV systems has grown into the millions and utility-scale solar power stations with hundreds of megawatts are being built. Solar PV is rapidly becoming an inexpensive, low-carbon technology to harness renewable energy from the Sun. The current largest photovoltaic power station in the world is the 850 MW Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, in Qinghai, China.

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