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Can renewable energy sources power the world?
Can renewable energy sources power the world?

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3 Photovoltaic systems for remote power

Photovoltaic modules are now widely used in ‘developed’ countries to provide electrical power in locations where it would be inconvenient or expensive to connect to conventional grid supplies. They are often used to charge batteries to ensure continuity of power.

Some common examples are shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5 Common examples of PV remote power use (a) PV parking meter (b) PV navigation buoy (c) PV telemetry system

But in many ‘developing’ countries electricity grids are often non-existent or rudimentary, particularly in rural areas, and all forms of energy are usually very expensive. In such countries electricity from PV can be highly competitive with other forms of energy supply – especially in countries with high solar radiation levels – and its use is growing very rapidly.

Applications include:

  • PV-powered water pumping
  • PV refrigerators to help keep vaccines stored safely in health centres
  • PV systems for homes and community centres, providing energy for lights, radios, audio and video systems
  • PV-powered telecommunications systems
  • PV-powered lighting for streets.

You’ll now look at PV systems connected to electricity grids in ’developed’ countries, starting with PV systems for individual houses.