PV cells are made with semi-conducting materials that display the PV effect, which is a phenomenon that is studied through physics and both photo and electrochemistry.
Solar panels consist of cells that convert sunlight into usable solar energy. The crystallized atoms are ionized in a series and turned in to electric current. The process involved has helped cut rates at solar PV farms down to between $65 and $68/mwh versus the higher $85/mwh rate for coal power. These rates are from research done by Deutsche Bank Equity Research North America, showing how solar power has become the cheapest form of electricity in Chile.
There are two types of solar power, PV and concentrated. The difference with concentrated solar power (CSP) is the use of mirrors or lenses to generate a large amount of sunlight which is converted to heat. The heat is then used to drive a heat engine in turn creating and generating power.
Chile has no reason to worry about running out of sunlight need to power the solar modules, the problem lies in transmission of the energy once it is converted. The transition to renewable energy is never smooth and without problems. But, Latin America is off to a great start, none the less, with the largest amount of growth for solar power projects in 2014.
Solar panels totaling 625mw of solar power may seem small, but compared to the estimated 6.5mw installed in the US, Chile’s 36% increase is astounding. More than 3/4 of Latin America’s projects have been installed in Northern Chile. The Atacan Desert, roughly 40,000 square miles large is hot, flat high desert that lends well to absorbing some of the most intense sunlight in the world.