Construction of PV Panels
Source: Renewable Energy Trust
As seen in the science behind PV, a photovoltaic cell is created when a positively charged semiconductor is placed against a negatively charged semiconductor to create a diode. In practice, this semiconductor sandwich is combined with supporting materials to create panels that can then be arranged in arrays to provide different amounts of electricity.
As seen in the science behind PV, a photovoltaic cell is created when a positively charged (P-type) layer of silicon is placed against a negatively charged (N-type) layer of silicon to create a diode and this diode is connected in a circuit via metal conductors on the top and bottom of the silicon sandwich. An actual PV cell includes these elements with an anti-reflective coating to accept more sunlight into the silicon sandwich.
While the photovoltaic cell is the central element in a photovoltaic system, the photovoltaic panel is what we actually use to make a cell or group of cells usable. Once in panel form, photovoltaics can be used alone or in groups of panels to power many different electrical loads. Though different types of photovoltaics vary in their structure, they generally include the following elements:
Finally, there are arrays of panels. These are created when multiple panels are connected together to form a larger circuit.