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Energy from the Sun
Introduction to Photovoltaics
Electricity Basics
Electrical Current – how many electrons
Voltage – how hard they’re pushed
Power – what they can accomplish
Circuit – where they can go
Series Circuit – one pathway only
Parallel Circuit – so many choices!
Parallel vs. Series Circuits
Parallel circuits
• maintain potential
(voltage is constant)
• Current is divided
among components
• If one light goes out,
the others stay lit
Series circuits
• maintain electrical flow
(current is constant)
• Voltage is divided
among components
• Easy to open circuit
DC vs. AC
Direct Current
• “Battery power”
• Electronics use
• Requires prohibitively
high voltage to
transmit over long
Alternating Current
• EASY to generate
• Can be transformed in
• Can be limited while
keeping voltage high
• Can be transmitted
over long distance
without super-high
PV Cell
Conversion Efficiency
PV Array
oPV Cells
PV System Components
Net Metering
Net Metering Participation
PV Array Fields
Source: Solarbuzz, a part of The NPD Group
• Clean
• Sustainable
• Free
• Provide electricity to remote
Advantages of Solar Energy
Disadvantages of Solar Energy
• Less efficient and costly equipment
• Part Time
• Reliability Depends On Location
• Environmental Impact of PV Cell
Classroom Photovoltaics
• Experiments help students understand the
conditions needed for optimal power
• Focus of secondary-level solar curriculum
• Use digital multimeters
Using a Digital Multimeter
DC Voltage
Scale. Do
not use.
voltage from
current. Do not
DC Current
For More Information
If you have questions, we have answers:
• – our website
• [email protected] – questions about NEED
• [email protected] – questions about this
• 1-800-875-5029 – NEED main office phone