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Introducing engineering
Introducing engineering

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5.10 PV terminology

Figure 99 explains some of the terminology applied to photovoltaics. The photovoltaic or solar cell is the base unit.

Cells are connected together electrically and fabricated into modules, and these are installed at a site in an arrangement known as an array. There remains the task of conditioning the d.c. electricity from the array. This may involve storage in batteries or conversion to a.c., which may then be connected to the mains.

Described image
Figure 99 Photovoltaic hierarchy

Renewable energy, together with greater energy efficiency and a reduction in energy consumption, offer a route to offset the consequences of climate change that are occurring through the overuse of fossil fuels. There are many resources and technologies, but for electricity generation in urban and remote environments alike, photovoltaics is an attractive option because of its modularity and quiet, maintenance-free operation. The technology is also suitable for integration with existing fossil fuel resources, or with other renewables, to overcome the mismatch between resource availability and demand.