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SOLAR POWER ALTERNATIVES

Introduction:Solar electric power is making enormous strides towards acceptability throughout the world. From 1988 to 1997, US shipments of solar electric modules (often referred to as Photovoltaic or PV) have increased over 250%. This is an average of over 36% per year. (See Note 1).

How Does it Work:Standard solar PV cells use a process similar to the manufacturing of computer chips. These cells are interconnected, hermetically sealed on a PC board type material, and framed to form a solar PV module.

When sunlight strikes the solar PV module(s), an electric current and voltage is induced from excited electrons. This current and voltage can be used to charge up batteries or to power equipment directly.

The solar PV modules perform best in a good unshaded location pointing directly at the sun. In the Northern hemisphere the modules should be facing true South. In the Southern hemisphere the modules should be facing true North. The angle of the modules is normally determined by the latitude of the site and the application.

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Written by:Randy Henk


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