How It Works

What is Photovoltaic and How Does It Work?
Photovoltaic is a form of energy production that uses the Sun's power to create electricity. Unlike solar systems for heating water, PV technology does not use the sun's heat to make electricity. Instead, PV produces electricity directly from the electrons freed by the interaction of sunlight with semiconductor materials in the PV cells. It works any time the sun is shining, but more electricity will be produced when the light is more intense (a sunny day) and is striking the PV modules directly (when the rays of sunlight are perpendicular to the PV modules).

What is the appeal of Photovoltaic energy production?
Investing in PV allows you to produce your own electricity with no noise, no air pollution, and no moving parts while using a clean, renewable resource. A PV system will never run out of fuel, and it won't increase our oil imports from overseas. In fact, it may not even contribute to the trade deficit, because many PV system components are manufactured in the United States. Due to these unique characteristics, PV technology has been called "the ultimate energy source for the 21st century."

Learn how Solar Cells Work at howstuffworks.com!