Solar PV

Principle & How it works

Photovoltaics, better known as solar cells, convert energy from the sun’s irradiation into electricity. Solar cells are packaged in photovoltaic modules, these modules connected electrically together in parallel or in series to create a solar photovoltaic array. To explain the photovoltaic solar panel simply, photons from sunlight knock electrons into a higher state of energy, these electrons in turn move to electrical circuit creating electrical energy.

Solar cells produce direct electrical current, which can be used to power electrical applications. The solar cell is made from a thin layer of a semiconducting material. In over 95 % of cells manufactured, this material is silicon. It is not an optimum semiconductor but is easy to work with and cheap due to its abundance and long experience with the material in the microchip industry.


  •  Photovoltaics need no fuel for operation and are a sustainable energy source. There are zero emissions from electricity generation.
  •  In arid regions, desert areas can be exploited. Many of the world’s developing countries, where demand for electricity is growing rapidly, provide bright sunlight.
  •  Solar panels can be made in small modular units which can be incorporated into buildings.
  •  When there is extra demand in the summer for air-conditioning, solar technology can offset this extra load and match it due to the fact that the demand for air-conditioning increases with times of peak sunshine.
  •  Photovoltaics can provide electricity for isolated areas where the electricity grid is not cost-effective to reach.
  •  Operating and maintenance costs are extremely low.
  •  Significant financial incentives in Japan and then Germany triggered a huge growth in demand, followed quickly by production.


  •  All silicon solar cells require extremely pure silicon, which is expensive, and energy intensive. Even with new methods, a silicon solar cell takes 2 years to generate the energy needed to make it. Solar thermal power plants need around 5 months to get back their energy makeup.
  •  The selling price of modules is still too high to compete with grid electricity in most places.
  •  Photovoltaic output heavily depends on length of daily sunlight and intensity. It is not a stable source of energy because weather changes are not controllable so times of cloud cover will unavoidably decrease the amount of generated energy.

Where it's working (Syria, Abroad)

The first practical application of photovoltaics was to power orbiting satellites and other spacecraft, but today the majority of photovoltaic modules are used for grid connected power generation. In this case an inverter is required to convert the DC to AC. There is a smaller market for electrification of remote dwellings, roadside emergency telephones, remote sensing, cathodic protection of oil pipelines ,solar lighting and water pumping.

A single module is enough to power an emergency telephone, but for a house or a power plant the modules must be arranged in arrays. A significant market has emerged in urban locations for solar-power-charged storage-battery based solutions. These are deployed as stand-by systems in energy deficient countries like India and as supplementary systems in developed markets.

In Syria, there have been several projects supported by the national organizations for electrification of some rural villages like Abou Sora, Musherfh, Zarzarita and others. The Scientific Studies and Research Centre (SSRC) in Aleppo has begun assembling PV modules in 1999 with 250 KWp annual production capacity as well as manufacturing of controllers for photovoltaic applications. Furthermore, there are several projects in solar water pumping , billboard solar lighting and solar street lighting but all of these projects have limited expansion around the country.

Future Development & integration

Photovoltaic power certainly will not be cost-competitive for large-scale applications without financial incentives. More research is needed to increase the efficiency of solar cells, decrease their price per square meter. Many power producers are using photovolaics to help cover peak loads, rather than building entirely new plants. Because photovoltaic technology is so modular in design, these additional stations can easily grow from year to year, covering higher and higher loads. Future development includes Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV), which is one of the fastest growing segments of the photovoltaic industry.

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