This section will centre on photovoltaics but if you would like more energy on other types of solar power, see the page in our Renewable Energy section.
“Photovoltaic cells”, more commonly known as “solar cells” are used to convert the sun’s light energy into direct current electricity (the kind of electricity that produced by batteries). This “photovoltaic effect” is not new technology; in fact it was observed in 1839 by a French scientist called Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel, and silicon solar panels have been used in space for over 50 years!
They are now used down here on Earth, and are undoubtedly the most common type of photovoltaic (PV) technology seen today. However there are lots of other types of solar cells and panels used nowadays. Explore the pages below to find out what these newer technologies are and how they can make electricity out of the sun’s energy!