Q: What is a photovoltaic cell?
A: A photovoltaic cell (or PV cell) is a type of electrical device that converts light energy from the Sun into electricity. It is made up of semiconductor materials, usually silicon, that when exposed to light create an electric current.
Q: How do photovoltaic cells work?
A: Photovoltaic cells work by converting light into electrical energy. When exposed to sunlight, photons are absorbed by the PV cell, exciting electrons within the cell to a higher energy state. This generates an electric current which can be used as an energy source.
Q: What is the efficiency of photovoltaic cells?
A: The efficiency of a photovoltaic cell is typically expressed as the ratio of the electrical output to the light input, and is generally in the range of 15-22%.
Q: How much electricity can photovoltaic cells produce?
A: The amount of electricity generated by photovoltaic cells (PV cells) depends on several factors, including the type of PV cell, the size of the cell, and the amount of sunlight received. Generally, 1m2 of PV panels can generate around 175W of electricity, although more efficient panels can reach up to 400w.
Q: What are the environmental benefits of photovoltaic cells?
A: Photovoltaic cells generate energy without producing any waste or emissions. PV cells do not require burning of fossil fuels and therefore do not contribute to greenhouses gases, making them an important component of a renewable energy system. Furthermore, they also reduce the need for electricity generated from conventional sources, thus helping to reduce the overall global carbon footprint.
Q: What is the lifespan of photovoltaic cells?
A: Photovoltaic (PV) cells typically have a lifespan of 25-30 years. Some panels may last as long as 40 years, however this is dependant on the quality of the cells and the environment that they are used in.
Q: What are the types of photovoltaic cells?
A: There are three main types of photovoltaic cells: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin-film PV cells. Monocrystalline cells are made out of single-crystal silicon and are the most efficient type of cell. Polycrystalline cells are made out of multiple smaller crystals and are less efficient than monocyrstalline cells. Thin-film PV cells are made out of layers of thin photovoltaic material, and are the least efficient type of cell.
Q: Are photovoltaic cells expensive?
A: Photovoltaic cells can be quite expensive, especially when compared to traditional energy sources. The cost of installing solar panels varies significantly, depending on the size of the system, the quality of the panels, and the type of installation. However, due to the increasing affordability of PV cells and government subsidies, the overall cost of solar energy is dropping.
Q: How much energy can photovoltaic cells generate in a day?
A: The amount of energy that photovoltaic cells can generate in a day is dependent on several factors, such as the type of cell, the size of the panel, and the amount of sunlight received. Generally, a 1m2 panel of PV cells can generate around 175W of energy in a day.
Q: What materials are used to make photovoltaic cells?
A: Photovoltaic cells are typically made out of silicon, which is a semiconductor material. Other materials such as gallium arsenide, copper indium selenide and cadmium telluride can also be used.