Sun Power Construction > Commercial Photovoltaic Systems

Photovoltaics (PVs) are arrays of cells containing a solar photovoltaic material that converts solar radiation into direct current electricity. Materials presently used for photovoltaics include monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, microcrystalline 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 dramatically in recent years.

Photovoltaic production has been doubling every 2 years, increasing by an average of 48 percent each year since 2002, making it the world’s fastest-growing energy technology. At the end of 2008, the cumulative global PV installations reached 15,200 megawatts. Roughly 90% of this generating capacity consists of grid-tied electrical systems. Such installations may be ground-mounted (and sometimes integrated with farming and grazing) or built into the roof or walls of a building, known as Building Integrated Photovoltaics or BIPV for short. Solar PV power stations today have capacities ranging from 10-60 MW although proposed solar PV power stations will have a capacity of 150 MW or more.

Driven by advances in technology and increases in manufacturing scale and sophistication, the cost of photovoltaics 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.

The political purpose of incentive policies for PV is to facilitate an initial small-scale deployment to begin to grow the industry, even where the cost of PV is significantly above grid parity, to allow the industry to achieve the economies of scale necessary to reach grid parity. The policies are implemented to promote national energy independence, high tech job creation and reduction of CO2 emissions.
Three incentive mechanisms are used (often in combination):
investment subsidies: the authorities refund part of the cost of installation of the system,
Feed-in Tariffs (FIT): the electricity utility buys PV electricity from the producer under a multiyear contract at a guaranteed rate.
Solar Renewable Energy Certificates ("SRECs")




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