Ingenieur Vol. 75 ingenieur July 2018-FA - Page 21

Solar Photovoltaic Technology For Grid- Connection – Moving Forward By Sulaiman SHAARI (Mr.) Vice President II, Malaysian Photovoltaic Industry Association (MPIA) T he Sun is a black body, fuelled by fusion process in its core and is the most important source of energy for life on Earth. It is made up of mostly hydrogen and helium and the Sun is the core of our solar system. The Sun emanates heat and light in a very broad spectrum and the full spectrum of solar radiation is shown in Figure 1. The amount of solar power intensity (irradiance) that arrives at the top of the Earth’s atmosphere is 1,365 Wm -2 (https://mynasadata.larc.nasa. gov/glossary/solar-constant-2/). As it traverses the Earth’s atmosphere, it goes through reflection, absorption, transmission and dispersion, which attenuate the value to about 1,000 Wm -2 by the time it reaches the Earth’s surface. Various measurements have been made and the amount of solar energy intensity (irradiation) reaching the Earth’s surface for the world and Malaysia are shown in Figures 2 and 3. From the preceding figures, it is very clear that Malaysia has a significant amount of solar energy as a resource. In addition, deeper studies show that this availability entails a very promising industry using direct-active solar-based technologies. PHOTOVOLTAIC TECHNOLOGY Photovoltaics (PV) was discovered by a physicist, Alexandre Edmond Becquerel in 1839 (see http:// www.sunlightelectric.com/pvhistory.php). It is one Figure 1: Solar irradiance spectrum (source: American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Terrestrial Reference Spectra). of the most popular direct-active solar-based technologies among the renewable energy (RE) technologies. It is the phenomenon of converting light directly into electricity. This is achieved using PV cells, also popularly called solar cells. Popular materials used to make the PV cells are: • An element from the periodic table, e.g. Group IV. • Compounds such as combinations of Gr W2bbWF2( FfFW&2'W2"Ц7'7FƖR( FW7BFV6wW6r&v2&6V@FW&2