Mitchell, Kim W. Solar Energy Research Institute, Golden, Colorado.
Tatro, M. L. Research Department, Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Last reviewed:January 2017
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- Photovoltaic effect
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A device that converts light energy directly to electrical energy; also known as a photovoltaic (PV) cell. PV cells are made of various semiconductor materials, such as silicon and gallium arsenide. Solar cells may be used individually to power small applications, such as calculators, or connected in series and parallel as modules or panels to obtain the required values of current and voltage for electric power generation (Fig. 1). Connecting them in series increases the voltage; connecting them in parallel increases the current. Modules may be grouped in parallel or strung in series to form PV arrays. See also: Solar energy
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