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Schematic symbol for a photovoltaic cell
A photovoltaic cell is a type of photoelectric cell that uses the photovoltaic effect to generate electrical energy using the potential difference that arises between materials when the surface of the cell is exposed to electromagnetic radiation. .A photovoltaic cell is commonly used for detecting radiation (for example, infrared detectors[1]), measurement of light intensity (such as in measuring optical density[2]), chemical processes (for example, spectrophotometry), and for conversion of light energy to electricity in conversion photovoltaic cells (when only the solar light is converted they are called solar cells).^ Flexible photovoltaic cells and modules formed using foils .
  • CA Patent 2456213 - TRANSPARENT FLAT BODY 20 November 2009 21:021 UTC www.wikipatents.com [Source type: Academic]

^ Post-treatment method for photovoltaic cell using thermal treatment at temperature above glass transition temperature of electron donor .
  • CA Patent 2456213 - TRANSPARENT FLAT BODY 20 November 2009 21:021 UTC www.wikipatents.com [Source type: Academic]

The photovoltaic cell was developed in 1954 at Bell Laboratories.[3]
Photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into DC current and, at present, are about 30% efficient.[4] The average lifespan of a photovoltaic cell is 25-30 years[5] and, while the cost of initially purchasing and setting up the cells is high, there are many advantages to this renewable energy source. Sunlight is inexhaustible, free, and environmentally clean[3]. The space programs of various countries utilize photovoltaic cells regularly to power systems in orbit.
Solar energy can be very effective in providing energy to small, remote villages with limited access to more common energy resources with a wider distribution network, such as fossil fuels.[3]
Another important distinction to be made in terms of the process of obtaining electrical energy from photovoltaic cells is between the photovoltaic principle of generating electricity and the photoelectric effect. .While in the photoelectric effect, electrons are ejected from the metal; in the photovoltaic phenomenon, electrons make a transition from a lower to a higher energy state having absorbed photons of the right energy[3].^ Post-treatment method for photovoltaic cell using thermal treatment at temperature above glass transition temperature of electron donor .
  • CA Patent 2456213 - TRANSPARENT FLAT BODY 20 November 2009 21:021 UTC www.wikipatents.com [Source type: Academic]

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Up to date as of December 14, 2010

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