SAFE partners offer proven technologies that take advantage of the clean abundant energy of the sun while reducing greenhouse gasses combined with proven answers for your company's sustainable aquaculture goals. Utilizing a number of case studies on market entry, market segmentation, partnership evaluation, cost benchmarking, and pricing, Our designs include small to large scale for the electric grid, and everything in between.
Photovoltaic (PV) systems use
solar electric panels to directly convert the sun's energy into electricity. This conversion of sunlight to electricity occurs without moving parts, is silent and pollution free in its operation. The solar electricity fed through electronic equipment is converted to utility grade electricity for use directly in the home.The solar electricity can be used to offset the need for purchased utility electricity or, if the PV electricity exceeds the home's requirements, the excess electricity can be sent back to the utility, typically for credit.
PV provides the world with a clean, reliable source of electricity and reduces our reliance on ever-depleting fossil fuels. The PV technology of the 21st century makes this possible. It employs layers of micro-fine crystalline silicon to convert ordinary sunlight into small electrical charges. This process is then multiplied thousands of times over to create, smaller than ever before, modules and systems that can generate enough electricity to power entire towns.
It's important to note that PV is different from the solar thermal energy used for heating or in hot water production. A single PV cell consists of two or more thin layers of semi-conducting material, most commonly crystalline silicon. When the silicon is exposed to light, small electrical charges are generated and conducted away by metal contacts as direct current (DC).
In order to maximize energy collection and conversion, single cells are connected together and housed in a module. These modules are the building blocks of the PV systems and are, in turn, connected together to generate usable volumes of electricity. In some instances, an inverter is also used to convert high voltage DC into lower voltage AC power.
Different types of photovoltaic products are available today from numerous manufacturers. The supply of PV collectors worldwide has increased from 20 to 30 percent annually to keep up with the demand for this renewable energy technology. PV modules (or solar electric collectors) are different from solar thermal collectors (that convert the sun's energy into thermal (typically hot water) energy. Photovoltaic modules are usually rigid, rectangular devices ranging in size from 2' by 4' to as large as 4' by 8'. Some PV module technologies are flexible and as large as 2' by about 20' or even larger. Rigid PV modules typically have a glass cover while the flexible modules have a very durable film cover. Both types of PV module construction have been rigorously tested to survive storm and hail damage and are resistant to degradation from ultra-violet rays.
Most residential PV systems are used in conjunction with utility-supplied power. Excess power produced during daylight hours can be fed back into the utility's lines, while utility electricity is used in the home when the house demand is greater than can be supplied by the PV roofing. Typical residential PV systems commonly have a peak power production of between 1,200 and 5,000 watts, AC - requiring from between 150 to over 1,000 square feet of installed area depending on the efficiency of the PV technology used.
Most often, PV panels are installed on roofs, but they can also be installed as free-standing units, on a pole on the ground, or even on complex tracking structures that change with the sun's angle during the day.
Types of PV Technologies
There are essentially two types of PV technology, crystalline and thin-film. Crystalline can again be broken down into two types:
Monocrystalline Cells - These are made using cells cut from a single cylindrical crystal of silicon. While monocrystalline cells offer the highest efficiency (approximately 18% conversion of incident sunlight), their complex manufacturing process makes them slightly more expensive.
Polycrystalline Cells - These are made by cutting micro-fine wafers from ingots of molten and recrystallized silicon. Polycrystalline cells are cheaper to produce, but there is a slight compromise on efficiency (approximately 14% conversion of incident sunlight).
Thin film PV is made by depositing an ultra thin layer of photovoltaic material onto a substrate. The most common type of thin-film PV is made from the material a-Si (amorphous silicon), but numerous other materials such as CIGS (copper indium/gallium diselenide) CIS (copper indium selenide), CdTe (Cadmium Teluride), dye-sensitized cells and organic solar cells are also possible.
Types of PV Systems
PV technology was first applied in space, by providing electricity to satellites. Today, PV systems can be used to power just about anything on Earth. PV systems operate in two basic forms.
Grid Connected PV Systems These systems are connected to a broader electricity network. During the day, the solar electricity generated by the system is either used immediately or sold off to electricity supply companies. In the evening, when the system is unable to supply immediate power, electricity can be bought back from the network.
Off Grid PV Systems These systems are used in isolation of electricity grids, and may be used to power radio repeater stations, telephone booths and street lighting. There is also a growing market for mobile PV in the boat and caravan leisure market. Off Grid (also known as Stand-Alone) PV systems also provide invaluable and affordable electricity in developing countries, where conventional electricity grids are unreliable or non-existent.
Hybrid Cars Are Ready...Are You?
SAFE is committed to staying ahead of the curve on the eco-friendly front. With the anticipated invasion of hybrid cars, we offer commercial designs for solar carports with charging stations. The full charge capabilities are accelerated and it takes about 10 minutes, not much longer than a typical gas station stop, and there's no fuel to wash off of your hands afterward.
Toyota Prius now offers a solar package upgrade for about $3500. An available sliding glass moonroof is packaged with solar panels, located over the rear seating area, that power a new ventilation system. This solar powered ventilation system uses an electrically powered air circulation fan that does not require engine assist. The system prevents the interior air temperature from rising while the vehicle is parked, making the cool-down time shorter when the driver returns to the vehicle, thus reducing the use of air conditioning.