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Photovoltaics

PhotoVoltaics

The State of Pennsylvania now offers rebates for PV installation. To access the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and information on the Pennsylvania Sunshine Program please click here.

Today's Photovoltaics (PV) systems are used to generate electricity to pump water, light up the night, activate switches, charge batteries, supply power to the utility grid, and much more. Photovoltaics convert sunlight directly into electricity.

What Are My Options?

A photovoltaic (PV) or solar cell is the basic building block of a PV (or solar electric) system. To boost the power output of PV cells, we connect them together to form larger units called modules. Modules, in turn, can be connected to form even larger units called arrays.

  • Flat-Plate PV Systems: These panels can either be fixed in place or allowed to track the movement of the sun and respond to both direct and diffuse light. A flat-plate PV system consists of racks to mount them on that face toward the sun, an inverter that converts the direct-current (DC) electricity produced by modules to alternate-current (AC) electricity that goes to your outlet, and batteries that store excess energy for later use.
     
  • Concentrator PV Systems: This PV system makes use of relatively inexpensive materials such as plastic lenses and metal housings to capture the solar energy shining on a fairly large area and focus that energy onto a smaller area where the solar cell is located.  
     
  • PV Systems with Battery Storage:These systems are valuable in areas where utility power is unavailable or utility line extensions would be too expensive. The ability to store PV-generated electrical energy makes the PV system a reliable source of electric power both day and night, rain or shine.
     
  • PV Connected to the Utility Grid: Where utility power is available, consumers can use a grid-connected PV system to supply some of the power they need and use utility-generated power at night and on overcast days. The owner of a grid-connected PV system can sell as well as buy electricity each month. Under federal law, utilities must allow independent power producers to be interconnected with the utility grid and utility companies must purchase any excess electricity generated by households.

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