Browse Definitions :
Definition

photovoltaic cell (PV Cell)

A photovoltaic cell (PV cell) is a specialized semiconductor diode that converts visible light into direct current (DC). Some PV cells can also convert infrared (IR) or ultraviolet (UV) radiation into DC electricity. Photovoltaic cells are an integral part of solar-electric energy systems, which are becoming increasingly important as alternative sources of utility power.

The first PV cells were made of silicon combined, or doped, with other elements to affect the behavior of electrons or holes (electron absences within atoms). Other materials, such as copper indium diselenide (CIS), cadmium telluride (CdTe), and gallium arsenide (GaAs), have been developed for use in PV cells. There are two basic types of semiconductor material, called positive (or P type) and negative (or N type). In a PV cell, flat pieces of these materials are placed together, and the physical boundary between them is called the P-N junction. The device is constructed in such a way that the junction can be exposed to visible light, IR, or UV. When such radiation strikes the P-N junction, a voltage difference is produced between the P type and N type materials. Electrodes connected to the semiconductor layers allow current to be drawn from the device.

Large sets of PV cells can be connected together to form solar modules, arrays, or panels. The use of PV cells and batteries for the generation of usable electrical energy is known as photovoltaics. One of the major advantages of photovoltaics is the fact that it is non-polluting, requiring only real estate (and a reasonably sunny climate) in order to function. Another advantage is the fact that solar energy is unlimited. Once a photovoltaic system has been installed, it can provide energy at essentially no cost for years, and with minimal maintenance.

This was last updated in September 2005

Continue Reading About photovoltaic cell (PV Cell)

Join the conversation

4 comments

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

om
Cancel
how the pn and pp Silicon semiconductors are produced ?
Cancel
how are the silicon plates are manufactured and what is the joining material ?
Cancel
Although this had good information involving 'photovoltaic cells', I would have appreciated if it displayed on how it works. The science behind it. To elaborate on that thought, I would like to know how it relates to the 'photovoltaic affect' and what exactly that is.   
Cancel

SearchCompliance

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

SearchSecurity

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

  • cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR)

    Cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR) is a combination of strategies and services intended to back up data, applications and other ...

SearchStorage

Close