Solar Photovoltaics is an umbrella term for a wide range solar cell technologies that chemically convert sunlight directly into electricity.
The "PV effect" refers to photons of light knocking electrons into a high energy state to generate electricity.
The first practical application of such technology was to power orbiting satellites and other spacecraft, but photovoltaic modules are now used widely in solar panels.
PV modules are typically more costly than concentrated solar power systems, but advocates of the technology predict that improvements in cell design will increase efficiency and lead to lower costs.
Some experts predict solar PV cells could be cost competitive with coal fired power as early as 2013.
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