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Photovoltaics, or PV for short, is a solar power technology that uses solar cells or solar photovoltaic arrays to convert light from the sun directly into electricity. Photovoltaics is also the field of study relating to this technology and there are many research institutes devoted to work on photovoltaics. The manufacture of photovoltaic cells has expanded dramatically in recent years. Photovoltaic production has been doubling every two years, increasing by an average of 48 percent each year since 2002, making it the world’s fastest-growing energy technology. At the end of 2007, according to preliminary data, cumulative global production was 12,400 megawatts. Roughly 90% of this generating capacity consists of grid-tied electrical systems. Such installations may be ground-mounted (and sometimes integrated with farming and grazing) or building integrated. Financial incentives, such as preferential feed-in tariffs for solar-generated electricity and net metering, have supported solar PV installations in many countries including Germany, Japan, and the United States.
Solar photovoltaics provided 0.04% of the world's Total Primary Energy Supply (TPES) for the year 2004, at a rate of growth to reach 0.08% by the end of 2006.

-The 89 petawatts of sunlight reaching the earth's surface is plentiful - almost 6,000 times more - compared to the 15 terawatts of average power consumed by humans. Additionally, solar electric generation has the highest power density (global mean of 170 W/m²) among renewable energies.
- Solar power is pollution free during use. Production end wastes and emissions are manageable using existing pollution controls. End-of-use recycling technologies are under development.
- Facilities can operate with little maintenance or intervention after initial setup.
-Solar electric generation is economically superior where grid connection or fuel transport is difficult, costly or impossible. Examples include satellites, island communities, remote locations and ocean vessels.
- When grid-connected, solar electric generation can displace the highest cost electricity during times of peak demand (in most climatic regions), can reduce grid loading, and can eliminate the need for local battery power for use in times of darkness and high local demand; such application is encouraged by net metering. Time-of-use net metering can be highly favorable to small photovoltaic systems.
-Grid-connected solar electricity can be used locally thus reducing transmission/distribution losses (transmission losses were approximately 7.2% in 1995).
-Once the initial capital cost of building a solar power plant has been spent, operating costs are extremely low compared to existing power technologies.

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