The Photovoltaic Cell
The PV cell contains two layers of semiconducting material, one with a positive charge and the other with a negative charge. When sunlight strikes the cell, some photons are absorbed by semiconductor atoms, freeing electrons that travel from the negative layer of the cell back to the positive layer, in the process creating a voltage. The flow of electrons through an external circuit produces electricity.
For more information on this exhibit, please contact the Comptroller’s Data Services Division at 512-463-4900 or at P.O. Box 13528, Austin, Texas 78711-3528.
Source: U.S. Department of Energy.