pho·​to·​vol·​ta·​ic | \ˌfō-tō-väl-ˈtā-ik, -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

The Magistralis wanted to add photovoltaic panels to the compound, a request rejected three times. J.s. Marcus, WSJ, "In a Struggling Italy, Florence Homes Enjoy a New Renaissance," 28 Nov. 2018 The system has two inverters, which convert the direct current (DC) output from the photovoltaic panels into appliance-friendly alternating current (AC) power. Amy Gamerman, WSJ, "The Homes Where Families Go Off the Grid," 27 Sep. 2018 Solar Impulse 2 is covered in 17,000 photovoltaic cells which power its motors and charge its batteries during the day. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Electric flight is coming, but the batteries aren’t ready," 14 Aug. 2018 The plan was to create photovoltaic panels indistinguishable from regular roof tiles, and early renderings of the tiles were promising. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Tesla’s solar roof production reportedly delayed by ‘aesthetic’ issues," 9 Aug. 2018 The roof is designed as a photovoltaic system that captures sunlight and turns it into electricity for powering the module’s appliances and lighting as well as storage as passive heating. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Tiny house from UN Environment and Yale raises the bar for eco-living," 11 July 2018 By the end of last year, the country had just 50 megawatts of photovoltaic systems installed — less than Kyrgyzstan or the state of Louisiana. Alexandra Zavis,, "Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is turning to another resource to power the kingdom — sunshine," 31 May 2018 Some folks have generators and photovoltaic electric systems to tide us over should the power go out. Sunset, "Eruptions and Evacuations Continue on Hawaii’s Big Island," 22 Jan. 2018 The project is expected to provide for 700 jobs and consist of more than 350,000 photovoltaic cells. Rye Druzin, San Antonio Express-News, "German company to build 100 MW solar project in Texas," 15 June 2018

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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Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for photovoltaic

The first known use of photovoltaic was circa 1889

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More from Merriam-Webster on photovoltaic

Nglish: Translation of photovoltaic for Spanish Speakers

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to enclose within walls

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