Solar Photovoltaics

Solar photovoltaics (PVs) convert energy from light into electricity using a semiconductor (a material with a particular kind of electrical conductivity) such as silicon.

When light hits the semiconductor, the energy in the light is absorbed, ‘exciting’ the electrons in the semiconductor so that they break free from their atoms and are free to flow through the material. In the same way that electrons pass through an electrical circuit, the movement of the electrons creates electricity.

Solar PV cells can be arranged in panels on a building’s roof or walls and with the latest PV technology, cells can also be integrated into materials such as roof tiles. The electricity they generate can be used immediately or stored, such as in batteries, for later use.

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