Photovoltaic Cell

What is photovoltaic cell (PV Cell)? What are the Characteristics of

PV Cell?


Photovoltaic Cell

The Photovoltaic cells (PV cell) is also made of semiconducting material such as silicon. Basically, when the photon (light) strikes to the cell, a certain amount of light is absorbed within the semiconducting material and produce electricity. This means that the energy of the absorbed light is transferred to the semiconductor. The energy knocks electrons loose, allowing them to flow freely. The name photovoltaic (PV) implies photo meaning ‘light’ and voltaic meaning ‘electricity’.

So, a photovoltaic cell is a semiconductor diode that converts visible light into direct current. Some photovoltaic cell can also convert infrared (IR) or ultraviolet (UV) radiation into DC electricity. Photovoltaic cells are an integral part of solar-electric energy systems, which are becoming increasingly important as alternative sources of utility power.

Photovoltaic cell

The photovoltaic cell characteristics depends on three basic variables; intensity of solar radiation, temperature and area of the cell. The intensity of solar radiation has no significant effect on the open circuit voltage; vice versa the intensity of the short-circuit current varies in proportion to the varying intensity of the irradiation, increasing as this increases.

PV Cell Characteristics

  • Regardless of size, a typical PV cell produces about 0.5-0.6 DC volt under open-circuit, with no load condition.
  • The current and power output of a PV cell depends upon size (surface area) and efficiency and intensity of light source striking the surface of the cell.
  • For example, under peak sunlight condition, a typical commercial PV cell with a surface area 0f 25 inch2 and V = 0.5-0.6 VDC will produce about 2 watts peak power.
  • If the sunlight intensity were 40% of peak, this PV cell would produce about 0.8 watts.