What is a Photovoltaic Device?
A photovoltaic device is any device that converts solar energy into electricity via the photovoltaic effect.
- A photovoltaic device is any device that converts light into electricity.
- Photovoltaic devices can power anything from small electronics to cities.
- Modern photovoltaic devices are typically constructed of semiconducting material such as silicon.
Understanding Photovoltaic Devices
A photovoltaic device is a device that converts solar energy into usable electricity by way of the photovoltaic effect. The photovoltaic effect is the physical and chemical process by which electricity is generated when light strikes the surface of a semiconducting material and frees electrons to create an electric current.
A photovoltaic device can be used to power anything from small electronic devices to entire buildings or cities. Perhaps the best known type of photovoltaic device is the photovoltaic module, or solar panel, that can be seen nearly everywhere in the world.
Most modern photovoltaic devices are constructed from either a crystalline silicon or a thin-film semiconductor material. Silicon photovoltaic devices are typically much better at converting solar energy into electricity, however they are more expensive to manufacture. Meanwhile, thin-film materials are much simpler and lower cost. There are several other types of photovoltaic materials that are much lower weight and higher efficiencies, but due to expense these materials are often reserved for military or government uses at this time.
Photovoltaic Array – A photovoltaic array is a collection of one or more solar panels that are connected together in order to collect a greater amount of solar energy.
Photovoltaic Cell – A photovoltaic cell is a device that converts solar energy into direct current electricity for use in homes or businesses through the photovoltaic effect.
Solar Cell – A solar cell is the colloquial term for a photovoltaic cell which converts solar energy into direct current electricity for use in homes or businesses through the photovoltaic effect.