Photovoltaic Cells

Photovoltaic Cells

Photovoltaic (PV) electricity is generated by using light-sensitive solid-state semiconductor cells. These PV cells or 'solar cells' are grouped together in 'modules'. A PV 'array' is a group of modules that are linked together and are sometimes called 'solar panels'.

PV panels may be attached to the roof or integrated into building components metals roofs, roof tiles, cladding panels and glazing, or even on a separate building.

When these panels are exposed to sunlight (direct and even diffused sunlight), the PV cells (solar cells) within the modules will generate a DC electric current.

Note: because photovoltaic cells generates a direct-current (DC) electricity an inverter will be needed to convert it to an alternating-current (AC) for normal household use.

The most common type of cell used in PV modules or panels are silicon and silicon-based cells of which there are four types:

  • Momocrystalline (MC)
  • Polycrystalline (PC)
  • Thin film Amorphous Silicon (AS)
  • Multilayer Amorphous Silicon including the;
    • Tandem junction 'double-layer' and
    • Triple junction 'three layer'

The most efficient PV cells are the monocrystalline (MC) and the next most efficient are the polycrystalline.

The colour of the MC type PV cells can be dark blue or dark grey. With the PC types the colour is usually a lighter blue, they can however be produced in a range of colours. The multilayer AS cells are generally a reddish black.

Note: be aware that specially coloured cells are generally more expensive and are slightly less efficient than natural coloured cells.

Top of Photovoltaic cells page

Home Heat Loss Heat Gain Radiant Heat Central Heating Radiators UFH 
Heat Pumps GSHP's WSHP's ASHP's Solar Heating PV Systems Boilers 
Water Heaters Insulation Elec-Heaters

Terms of Use      |     Privacy     |   Contact Us

As Featured On Ezine Articles

Visitors Say

Hi, My name is Shannon and I'm one of readers. I'd like to thank you for the excellent information I've found on, it's one of my favorite readings on the net. Warmest Regards Shannon United States

Thanks for the advice for removing an air lock from an indirect system. Had to change an inlet on my cistern. First time I have tried any home plumbing. After draining the cold tank system air locked when I refilled the tank. Garden hose and mains pressure up the tap sorted my problems. Would not have known what to do without the advice on the site. Many thanks Sean United Kingdom.

An excellent site. I have found it very usefull. I am currently in the design phase of a new house and have be pondering which heat system to use. From your site I have been able to choose the right system. Ross New Zealand

I enjoyed your site. Pat United States

We're so excited to announce our first Children Book

The Special and Talented Dog Show
To order click here

The second book published is called

Flying Things

This is aimed at a pre-school audience and is a rhyming story.  You can buy by clicking here

To read more about our children's books, click here