Chapter 1. Solar power, the solar resource and the growth of solar cells
Solar energy is the most abundant energy resource on the earth today, with the amount of energy reaching the surface equivalent to 7,500 times annual energy consumption. Solar cells are robust solid state devices that can operate under virtually all light conditions. Their output is greater the higher the light intensity available. Solar intensity varies globally, with the best regions generally close to the equator. Africa, south and southeast Asia, Australia, the southern states of the USA, and central and south America – all have good resources. However, even regions with lower average insolation, such as northern Europe or Japan – can exploit solar photovoltaic technology successfully. Solar cell capacity has grown rapidly in the second decade of the twenty-first century, reaching 137GW at the end of 2013. …