Solar Photovoltaic

How Photovoltaic Cells Produce Electricity

The words ‘photo’ and ‘voltaic’ literally translate to ‘light’ and ‘current’ respectively. Sunlight is made of little packets of energy called ‘photons’ and the photovoltaic (PV) cells of a solar module are made of semiconductor materials Figure 1.

SEMICONDUCTOR TO SOLAR CELL TO SOLAR PV MODULEFigure 1: From Semi-conductor to Solar Cells to Solar Module

Thus, a solar cell is an electronic device which directly converts sunlight into electricity. Light shining on the solar cell produces both a current and a voltage to generate electric power. When the photons strike a typical photovoltaic cell, the energy from the light is absorbed by the semiconductor material in the solar cell and this releases electrons in the process. It is this flow of electrons that creates electric current.

Hence, the process of converting sunlight to electricity usually involves two basic stages. The first stage requires a material in which the absorption of light raises an electron to a higher energy state. In the second stage, there is a movement of the higher energy electron from the solar cell into an external circuit (e.g. the load).  The electron then dissipates its energy in the external circuit and returns to the solar cell. This creates a complete path for electron movement and by extension current flow.

A variety of materials and processes can potentially satisfy the requirements for photovoltaic energy conversion, but in practice nearly all photovoltaic energy conversion uses semiconductor materials in the form of a p-n junction. Take Solar Power Quiz

Trending Post

Select a Category

Senior School e-Classes

Join for FREE
View Subjects/Courses
Browse SSS Scheme of Work
Browse by Term & Class
1st SS 1 SS 2 SS 3
2nd SS 1 SS 2 SS 3
3rd SS 1 SS 2 SS 3

Archives

SS One Subjects 1st Term

SS Two Subjects 1st Term

SS Three Subjects 1st Term

NTI PgDE Past Q & A

SS One Subjects 2nd Term

SS Two Subjects 2nd Term

SS Three Subjects 2nd Term

Textbooks and References

SS One Subjects 3rd Term

SS Two Subjects 3rd Term

SSCE Past Questions

TRCN Past Q & A

Youtube Videos

Advertisement

eLearning eClasses eLibrary Solar Energy Training Project Mngmt Solar Robotics

Layer 1
Login Categories
error: Content is protected !!