pho·​to·​vol·​ta·​ic | \ ˌfō-tō-väl-ˈtā-ik How to pronounce photovoltaic (audio) , -vōl- \

Definition of photovoltaic

: of, relating to, or utilizing the generation of a voltage when radiant energy falls on the boundary between dissimilar substances (such as two different semiconductors)

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Other Words from photovoltaic

photovoltaic noun

Sunshine and Photovoltaic

The -voltaic part of photovoltaic comes from the name of Alessandro Volta, inventor of the electric battery. Thus, unlike photoelectric cells, which use electricity for certain small tasks, photovoltaic (or PV) cells actually produce electricity. Solar cells, the standard type of photovoltaic cells (often called simply photocells), operate without chemicals and with no moving parts to create energy directly from sunlight. Much research is now being done on creating an alternative technology—solar film, which could be stuck onto almost any surface, or possibly even sprayed on.

Examples of photovoltaic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Compared to a photovoltaic panel, which typically hits in the area of 200 watts/meter, that's pretty pathetic. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Variant of photovoltaic power could generate 24 hours a day," 4 Feb. 2020 The secret is using thermal radiation cells instead of photovoltaic solar cells. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "How Reverse Solar Panels Could Generate Power at Night," 3 Feb. 2020 The first was the plunging cost and efficiency gains of photovoltaic cells. Wired Staff, Wired, "2020 in Science: A SpaceX Bonanza, Lab-Grown Brains, and More," 31 Dec. 2019 The area of research that keeps grabbing my attention is a fusion of photovoltaic technology and biochemistry. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Photovoltaic… enzymes?," 19 Dec. 2019 The next stage was to install a power station with 32 solar photovoltaic panels, which generate 8.32 kilowatts of electricity for distribution via a mini-grid. Emma Reynolds, CNN, "Africa's 'first fully solar-powered village' wants to be a model for a renewable future," 13 Dec. 2019 And startup Sono Motors of Germany—reporting €214 million ($235 million at current exchange rates) in paid pre-orders—and Dutch firm LightyearOne both promise electric cars that charge themselves with their own photovoltaic panels. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "Sunshine will cover your daily commute," 13 Nov. 2019 The explosion of solar energy capacity has been driven almost entirely by the plunging cost of photovoltaic hardware. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Company claims breakthrough in concentrating the Sun’s rays," 19 Nov. 2019 If that weren’t enough, there’s a photovoltaic panel above the outdoor deck. oregonlive, "Lunar lander tiny house builder is having a blast on the Columbia River," 24 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'photovoltaic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of photovoltaic

circa 1889, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for photovoltaic

International Scientific Vocabulary

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Time Traveler for photovoltaic

Time Traveler

The first known use of photovoltaic was circa 1889

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Statistics for photovoltaic

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Photovoltaic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on photovoltaic

Nglish: Translation of photovoltaic for Spanish Speakers

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