Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Cells
PV cells convert the solar energy to electricity directly. There are many different material and device systems to generate PV effect.
What is PV?
Photovoltaic (PV) is the field of technology and research related to the application of solar cells for energy by converting solar energy directly into electricity. There are different types of PV cells. Some of them are produced by silicon wafers while some are obtained by the thin films.
Operation principle of PV cells is based on junction effect. To understand junction effect, we should understand what is n type and p type materials. Electric field between n type and p type material pumps electrons excited by photons to the outside circuits.
PV cells are produced in research labs in more than 50 years. Different types of cells are developed by different technologies and variable materials. All these have advantages and disadvantages with respect to each other. Efficiency, cost, availability of raw material, application area and stability are main parameters to compare different technologies.
First application area of solar cells was satellites. High efficiency GaAs solar cells are used in satellites. After a while solar panels are used on tops of houses. Locations that are too far from city network have also been PV application areas. Today, big solar power stations (40-60 MW) are in operation. BIPV (Building integrated Photovoltaics) are also spreading rapidly in urban areas.