Monday, April 12, 2010

Solar Cell in spotlight

Taking light energy and converting it into electrical energy, the solar cell is an ecological device. The light absorbing material of a solar cell will lead to photogeneration of charge carriers and a conductive contact will carry off the electrons into another wire or circuit.

Solar cells are made up of thin layers of silicon, and when sunlight strikes a cell's light absorbing material, chemical reactions release electrons, generating an electric current.

For example, they can be constructed with sequential layers of thin film semiconductor materials, which are usually only micrometers thick. According to Sharp Electronics, a specialist in this area, such thin-film technologies account for around 12 percent of all solar modules sold worldwide.

The manufacturers of solar cells boast that they are cost-effective, quiet, safe, and reliable, and only require minimal maintenance over a long operational life.

Note that the term photovoltaic cell is sometimes used when the cell's light source is not explicitly sunlight. Also, the study of solar cells is known as photovoltaics.

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