Solar Capitalist LLC Blog

Basic Knowledge of Photovoltaic Principles

by on Feb.11, 2012, under PV Basics

A basic knowledge of Photovoltaic Principles will no doubt be of importance to anyone considering the us of PV – Capitalizing On the Sun’s Energy.

The Photovoltaic effect is exhibited by certain semiconductors, and is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity.

We found this great explanation of Photovoltaics on NASA’s website – credit to Gil Knier.

“Photovoltaics is the direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level. Some materials exhibit a property known as the photoelectric effect that causes them to absorb photons of light and release electrons. When these free electrons are captured, an electric current results that can be used as electricity.”

Here’s the link to NASA’s webpage should you wish to read more of Gil Knier’s explanation:

Materials presently used for photovoltaics include monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide/sulfide.

Global Solar is the only manufacturer in full-scale production of CIGS (Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide) PV cells on a flexible substrate.

This depositing of one or more thin layers (thin film) of photovoltaic material on a substrate results in what is called a thin-film solar cell (also called a thin-film photovoltaic cell).

Global’s innovative process of depositing CIGS on flexible stainless-steel substrate facilitates lower manufacturing costs.   This is opening up new and alternative markets where solar hasn’t been a viable option in the past, helping drive the solar market into the next level of innovation, adoption and affordability.

Next we would do well to cover terms pertinent to Photovoltaics like – solar “cell”,  solar “panel”, solar “module”, and solar “array”.  Above we discussed how a solar “cell” is made, and you would recognize them as the small squares making up a solar “panel”.  Also called a solar “module”, a solar “panel” is some number of solar “cells” assembled in rows on a frame and wired in series (see our post on Basic Electrical Theory for a refresher on “series” circuits).  You’ve no doubt seen an individual solar “panel” (or “module”) mounted on a piece of road construction traffic signal equipment, or above a roadside call box on an Interstate Highway.  A solar “array” is some group of solar “panels” (or “modules”) installed on a roof, or other supporting structure.

Contact Ray Bowers via call or text at 302-562-1706 or email at:

Products are available via our ecommerce store at:

We offer a Blog specific to the topic of SAE 2 Pin Connectors at:

We also invite you to visit our Bohemian Biker LLC blog for additional posts and comments of interest.

Capitalize On the Sun’s Energy!

:, , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Visit our friends!

A few highly recommended friends...


All entries, chronologically...