Solar Energy Glossary
A dopant material, such as boron, which has fewer outer shell electrons than required in an otherwise balanced crystal structure, providing a hole, which can accept a free electron.
The period of time, at a specified temperature, that a charged battery can be stored before its capacity falls to an unusable level.
Equal to the cosine of the zenith angle-that angle from directly overhead to a line intersecting the sun. The air mass is an indication of the length of the path solar radiation travels through the atmosphere. An air mass of 1.0 means the sun is directly overhead and the radiation travels through one atmosphere (thickness).
The temperature of the surrounding area.
A non-crystalline semiconductor material that has no long-range order.
Services that assist the grid operator in maintaining system balance. These include regulation and the contingency reserves: spinning, non-spinning, and in some regions, supplemental operating reserve.
The angle that a ray of sun makes with a line perpendicular to the surface. For example, a surface that directly faces the sun has a solar angle of incidence of zero, but if the surface is parallel to the sun (for example, sunrise striking a horizontal rooftop), the angle of incidence is 90°.
The annual solar savings of a solar building is the energy savings attributable to a solar feature relative to the energy requirements of a non-solar building.
A thin coating of a material applied to a solar cell surface that reduces the light reflection and increases light transmission.
A metered segment of the power system, maintained by a balancing area authority, that ensures the total of all electrical generation equals the total of all system loads.
The average amount of electric power that a utility must supply in any period.
Two or more electrochemical cells enclosed in a container and electrically interconnected in an appropriate series/parallel arrangement to provide the required operating voltage and current levels. Under common usage, the term battery also applies to a single cell if it constitutes the entire electrochemical storage system.
The amount of heat required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit; equal to 252 calories.
A term for the design and integration of photovoltaic (PV) technology into the building envelope, typically replacing conventional building materials. This integration may be in vertical facades, replacing view glass, spandrel glass, or other facade material; into semitransparent skylight systems; into roofing systems, replacing traditional roofing materials; into shading “eyebrows” over windows; or other building envelope systems.
A chemical element used in making certain types of solar cells and batteries.
The ratio of the average load on (or power output of) an electricity generating unit or system to the capacity rating of the unit or system over a specified period of time.
A battery having an immobilized electrolyte (gelled or absorbed in a material).
A method of preventing oxidation of the exposed metal in structures by imposing a small electrical voltage between the structure and the ground.
A single unit of an electrochemical device capable of producing direct voltage by converting chemical energy into electrical energy. A battery usually consists of several cells electrically connected together to produce higher voltages. (Sometimes the terms cell and batteryare used interchangeably). See also photovoltaic (PV) cell.