Photovoltaic (PV) arrays are commonly used in off-grid systems and are becoming the default choice of energy conversion technology in such applications. This is primarily driven by falling costs, and the above average sunlight in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where electrification rates are the lowest. Whereas relatively few energy-impoverished communities are in locations whose climate and terrain can support wind-, hydro-, or biomass-based generation, most have enough sunlight for PV-based generation to be practical. This chapter describes the basic operating principles of PV-arrays. Circuit models are presented, and methods for estimating the power output under different irradiance and temperature scenarios are described. Practical considerations such as the effects of shading and array design are covered.
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