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ABCsofSolarEnergy
ABCsofSolarEnergy
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ

A
Absorber:Inasolarthermalcollector,it'sthepartthatabsorbstheSolarRadiationviablackabsorbercoatings
throughaheattransferfluid(usuallywater+antifreeze)andiscommonlyreferredtoasabsorberplate'.Ina
photovoltaicdevice,it'sthematerialthatreadilyabsorbsphotonstogeneratechargecarriers(freeelectronsor
holes).
AC:AbbreviationforAlternatingCurrent(seebelow).
Acceptor:Adopantmaterial,suchasboron,whichhasfeweroutershellelectronsthanrequiredinanotherwise
balancedcrystalstructure,providingahole,whichcanacceptafreeelectron.
ActivatedShelfLife:Theperiodoftime,ataspecifiedtemperature,thatachargedbatterycanbestoredbeforeits
capacityfallstoanunusablelevel.
ActivationVoltage(s):Thevoltage(s)atwhichachargecontrollerwilltakeactiontoprotectthebatteries.
AdjustableSetPoint:Afeatureallowingtheusertoadjustthevoltagelevelsatwhichachargecontrollerwill
becomeactive.
AIC:AbbreviationforAmperageInterruptCapability(seebelow).
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Airmass(sometimescalledairmassratio):Equaltothecosineofthezenithanglethatanglefromdirectly
overheadtoalineintersectingthesun.Theairmassisanindicationofthelengthofthepathsolarradiationtravels
throughtheatmosphere.Anairmassof1.0meansthesunisdirectlyoverheadandtheradiationtravelsthroughone
atmosphere(thickness).
Albedo:Theratiooflightreflectedfromasurface,oftenusedinreferencetoacelestialbody.Itisamorespecific
formofthetermreflectivity.
AlternatingCurrent:Atypeofelectricalcurrent,thedirectionofwhichisreversedatregularintervalsorcycles.
ElectricitytransmissionnetworksorgridsmostlyuseACbecausevoltagecanbecontrolledwithrelativeease.
Ambient:Referringtothetemperatureorconditionsofthesurroundingarea.
AmorphousSemiconductor:Anoncrystallinesemiconductormaterialthathasnolongrangeorder.
AmorphousSilicon:Athinfilm,siliconphotovoltaiccellhavingnocrystallinestructure.Manufacturedbydepositing
layersofdopedsilicononasubstrate.
Amperes:Aunitofelectricalcurrentorrateofflowofelectrons.Onevoltacrossoneohmofresistancecausesa
currentflowofoneampere.
AmpereHours:Ameasureoftheflowofcurrent(inamperes)overonehourusedtomeasurebatterycapacity.
AngleofIncidence:Theanglethatarayofsunmakeswithalineperpendiculartothesurface.Forexample,a
surfacethatdirectlyfacesthesunhasasolarangleofincidenceofzero,butifthesurfaceisparalleltothesun(for
example,sunrisestrikingahorizontalrooftop)theangleofincidenceis90.
AnnualSolarSavings:Theannualsolarsavingsofabuildingwithsolarinstallationistheenergysavings
attributabletoasolarfeaturerelativetotheenergyrequirementsofabuildingwithnosolarinstallations.
Anode:Thepositiveelectrodeinanelectrochemicalcell(battery).Also,theearthorgroundinacathodicprotection
system.Also,thepositiveterminalofadiode.
AntireflectionCoating:Athincoatingofamaterialappliedtoasolarcellsurfacethatreducesthelightreflection
andincreaseslighttransmission.
Array:AninterconnectedsystemofPVmodulesthatfunctionasasingleelectricityproducingunit.Themodulesare
assembledasadiscretestructure,withcommonsupportormounting.Insmallersystems,anarraycanconsistofa
singlemodule.
ArrayCurrent:Theelectricalcurrentproducedbyaphotovoltaicarraywhenitisexposedtosunlight.
ArrayOperatingVoltage:Thevoltageproducedbyaphotovoltaicarraywhenexposedtosunlightandconnectedto
aload.
AutonomousSystem:Aphotovoltaicsystemnotconnectedtoagrid.Mayormaynothavestorage,butmost
standalonesystemsrequirebatteriesorsomeotherformofstorageforcoverageduringnonsunhours.
Availability:Thequalityorconditionofaphotovoltaicsystembeingavailabletoprovidepowertoaload.Usually
measuredinhoursperyearorpercentageorfractionofthetotalhours.Whenexpressedinfraction,oneminus
availabilityequalsdowntime.
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Azimuth:Theanglebetweentruesouthandthepointonthehorizondirectlybelowthesun.

>>Backtotop

B
BalanceofSystem(BOS):Representsallcomponentsandcostsotherthanthephotovoltaicmodules/array.It
includesdesigncosts,land,sitepreparation,systeminstallation,supportstructures,powerconditioning,operation
andmaintenancecosts,indirectstorage,andrelatedcosts.
BandGap:Inasemiconductor,theenergydifferencebetweenthehighestvalencebandandthelowestconduction
band.
BandGapEnergy:Theamountofenergy(inelectronvolts)requiredtofreeanoutershellelectronfromitsorbit
aboutthenucleustoafreestate,andthuspromoteitfromthevalencetotheconductionlevel.
BarrierEnergy:Theenergygivenupbyanelectroninpenetratingthecellbarrierameasureoftheelectrostatic
potentialofthebarrier.
BaseLoad:Theaverageamountofelectricpowerthatautilitymustsupplyinanyperiod.
Battery:Twoormoreelectrochemicalcellsenclosedinacontainerandelectricallyinterconnectedinanappropriate
series/parallelarrangementtoprovidetherequiredoperatingvoltageandcurrentlevels.Undercommonusage,the
termbatteryalsoappliestoasinglecellifitconstitutestheentireelectrochemicalstoragesystem.
BatteryAvailableCapacity:Thetotalmaximumcharge,expressedinamperehours,thatcanbewithdrawnfroma
cellorbatteryunderaspecificsetofoperatingconditionsincludingdischargerate,temperature,initialstateof
charge,age,andcutoffvoltage.
BatteryCapacity:Themaximumtotalelectricalcharge,expressedinamperehours,whichabatterycandelivertoa
loadunderaspecificsetofconditions.
BatteryCell:Thesimplestoperatingunitinastoragebattery.Itconsistsofoneormorepositiveelectrodesorplates,
anelectrolytethatpermitsionicconduction,oneormorenegativeelectrodesorplates,separatorsbetweenplatesof
oppositepolarity,andacontainerforalltheabove.
BatteryCycleLife:Thenumberofcycles,toaspecifieddepthofdischarge,thatacellorbatterycanundergo
beforefailingtomeetitsspecifiedcapacityorefficiencyperformancecriteria.
BatteryEnergyCapacity:Thetotalenergyavailable,expressedinwatthours(kilowatthours),whichcanbe
withdrawnfromafullychargedcellorbattery.Theenergycapacityofagivencellvarieswithtemperature,rate,age,
andcutoffvoltage.Thistermismorecommontosystemdesignersthanitistothebatteryindustrywherecapacity
usuallyreferstoamperehours.
BatteryEnergyStorage:Energystorageusingelectrochemicalbatteries.Thethreemainapplicationsforbattery
energystoragesystemsincludespinningreserveatgeneratingstations,loadlevelingatsubstations,andpeak
shavingonthecustomersideofthemeter.

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BatteryLife:Theperiodduringwhichacellorbatteryiscapableofoperatingaboveaspecifiedcapacityor
efficiencyperformancelevel.Lifemaybemeasuredincyclesand/oryears,dependingonthetypeofservicefor
whichthecellorbatteryisintended.
BIPV(BuildingIntegratedPhotovoltaics):Atermforthedesignandintegrationofphotovoltaic(PV)technology
intothebuildingenvelope,typicallyreplacingconventionalbuildingmaterials.Thisintegrationmaybeinvertical
facades,replacingviewglass,spandrelglass,orotherfacadematerialintosemitransparentskylightsystemsinto
roofingsystems,replacingtraditionalroofingmaterialsintoshading"eyebrows"overwindowsorotherbuilding
envelopesystems.
BlockingDiode:Asemiconductorconnectedinserieswithasolarcellorcellsandastoragebatterytokeepthe
batteryfromdischargingthroughthecellwhenthereisnooutput,orlowoutput,fromthesolarcell.Itcanbethought
ofasaonewayvalvethatallowselectronstoflowforwards,butnotbackwards.
Boron:Thechemicalelementcommonlyusedasthedopantinphotovoltaicdeviceorcellmaterial.
Boule:Asausageshaped,syntheticsinglecrystalmassgrowninaspecialfurnace,pulledandturnedatarate
necessarytomaintainthesinglecrystalstructureduringgrowth.
BTU(BritishThermalUnits):Theamountofheatrequiredtoraisethetemperatureofonepoundofwaterone
degreeFahrenheitequalto252calories.
BypassDiode:Adiodeconnectedacrossoneormoresolarcellsinaphotovoltaicmodulesuchthatthediodewill
conductifthecell(s)becomereversebiased.Itprotectsthesesolarcellsfromthermaldestructionincaseoftotalor
partialshadingofindividualsolarcellswhileothercellsareexposedtofulllight.

>>Backtotop

C
Cadmium(Cd):Achemicalelementusedinmakingcertaintypesofsolarcellsandbatteries.
CadmiumTelluride(CdTe):Apolycrystallinethinfilmphotovoltaicmaterial,commercializedsuccessfullyinthinfilm
modulessince1990s,notablybyFirstSolarsince1999.
CapacityFactor:Theratiooftheaverageloadon(orpoweroutputof)anelectricitygeneratingunitorsystemtothe
capacityratingoftheunitorsystemoveraspecifiedperiodoftime.
CaptiveElectrolyteBattery:Abatteryhavinganimmobilizedelectrolyte(gelledorabsorbedinamaterial).
Cathode:Thenegativepoleorelectrodeofanelectrolyticcell,vacuumtube,etc.,whereelectronsenter(current
leaves)thesystemtheoppositeofananode.
CathodicProtection:Amethodofpreventingoxidationoftheexposedmetalinstructuresbyimposingasmall
electricalvoltagebetweenthestructureandtheground.
Cell(battery):Asingleunitofanelectrochemicaldevicecapableofproducingdirectvoltagebyconvertingchemical
energyintoelectricalenergy.Abatteryusuallyconsistsofseveralcellselectricallyconnectedtogethertoproduce
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highervoltages.(Sometimesthetermscellandbatteryareusedinterchangeably).Alsoseephotovoltaic(PV)cell.
CellBarrier:Averythinregionofstaticelectricchargealongtheinterfaceofthepositiveandnegativelayersina
photovoltaiccell.Thebarrierinhibitsthemovementofelectronsfromonelayertotheother,sothathigherenergy
electronsfromonesidediffusepreferentiallythroughitinonedirection,creatingacurrentandthusavoltageacross
thecell.Alsocalleddepletionzoneorspacecharge.
CellJunction:Theareaofimmediatecontactbetweentwolayers(positiveandnegative)ofaphotovoltaiccell.The
junctionliesatthecenterofthecellbarrierordepletionzone.
CentralPowerTower:Acentraltowerusedinconcentratingsolarpower(CSP)plants.Thetowerhasastoragetank
filledwithmoltensalt,whichstorestheheatusedtoboilwaterthatproducessteamthatdrivesturbines.
Charge:Theprocessofaddingelectricalenergytoabattery.
ChargeCarriers:Afreeandmobileconductionelectronorholeinasemiconductor.
ChargeController:Acomponentofaphotovoltaicsystemthatcontrolstheflowofcurrenttoandfromthebatteryto
protectitfromoverchargeandoverdischarge.Thechargecontrollermayalsoindicatethesystemoperational
status.
ChargeFactor:Anumberrepresentingthetimeinhoursduringwhichabatterycanbechargedataconstant
currentwithoutdamagetothebattery.Usuallyexpressedinrelationtothetotalbatterycapacity,i.e.,C/5indicatesa
chargefactorof5hours.Relatedtochargerate.
ChargeRate:Thecurrentappliedtoacellorbatterytorestoreitsavailablecapacity.Thisrateiscommonly
normalizedbyachargecontroldevicewithrespecttotheratedcapacityofthecellorbattery.
ChemicalVaporDeposition(CVD):Amethodofdepositingthinsemiconductorfilmsusedtomakecertaintypesof
photovoltaicdevices.Withthismethod,asubstrateisexposedtooneormorevaporizedcompounds,oneormoreof
whichcontaindesirableconstituents.Achemicalreactionisinitiated,atornearthesubstratesurface,toproducethe
desiredmaterialthatwillcondenseonthesubstrate.
CIGS:CopperIndiumGalliumSelenide.Apolycrystallinethinfilmphotovoltaicmaterialcomposedofcopperand
indium(CIS)sometimesincorporatinggallium(CIGS)and/orsulfur.
CleavageofLateralEpitaxialFilmsforTransfer(CLEFT):AprocessformakinginexpensiveGalliumArsenide
(GaAs)photovoltaiccellsinwhichathinfilmofGaAsisgrownatopathick,singlecrystalGaAs(orothersuitable
material)substrateandtheniscleavedfromthesubstrateandincorporatedintoacell,allowingthesubstratetobe
reusedtogrowmorethinfilmGaAs.
CloudEnhancement:Theincreaseinsolarintensitycausedbyreflectedirradiancefromnearbyclouds.
CombinedCollector:Aphotovoltaicdeviceormodulethatprovidesusefulheatenergyinadditiontoelectricity.
CompactLinearFresnelReflector(CLFR):ALinearFresnelReflectorthatusesmultipleabsorberswithinthe
vicinityofthemirrors.
ConcentratingPhotovoltaic:Concentratingphotovoltaic(CPV)systemsusesunlightconcentratedonto
photovoltaicmodulesforthepurposeofelectricalpowergeneration.

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ConcentratingSolarPower(CSP):Asolarenergysystemthatopticallyconcentratessolarraysontoasmallarea
usinglensesand/ormirrorsandtrackingdevices.Theconcentratedlightisthenusedasaheatsourcefora
conventionalpowerplant(calledsolarthermalelectric).Itmayalsobefocusedonaphotovoltaiccelltoincreaseits
conversionefficiency(seeconcentratingphotovoltaic).
Concentrator:Aphotovoltaicmodule,whichincludesopticalcomponentssuchaslenses(Fresnellens)todirectand
concentratesunlightontoasolarcellofsmallerarea.Mostconcentratorarraysmustdirectlyfaceortrackthesun.
Theycanincreasethepowerfluxofsunlighthundredsoftimes.
ConductionBand(orconductionlevel):Anenergybandinasemiconductorinwhichelectronscanmovefreelyin
asolid,producinganettransportofcharge.
Conductor:Thematerialthroughwhichelectricityistransmitted,suchasanelectricalwire,ortransmissionor
distributionline.
ContactResistance:Theresistancebetweenmetalliccontactsandthesemiconductor.
Converter:Aunitthatconvertsadirectcurrent(dc)voltagetoanotherdcvoltage.
CrystallineSilicon:Atypeofphotovoltaiccellmadefromasliceofsinglecrystalsiliconorpolycrystallinesilicon.
CurrentatMaximumPower(Imp):Thecurrentatwhichmaximumpowerisavailablefromamodule.
CutoffVoltage:Thevoltagelevels(activation)atwhichthechargecontrollerdisconnectsthephotovoltaicarrayfrom
thebatteryortheloadfromthebattery.
Cycle:Thedischargeandsubsequentchargeofabattery.
CzochralskiProcess:Amethodofgrowinglargesize,highqualitysemiconductorcrystalbyslowlyliftingaseed
crystalfromamoltenbathofthematerialundercarefulcoolingconditions.

>>Backtotop

D
DanglingBonds:Achemicalbondassociatedwithanatomonthesurfacelayerofacrystal.Thebonddoesnotjoin
withanotheratomofthecrystal,butextendsinthedirectionofexteriorofthesurface.
DaysofStorage:Thenumberofconsecutivedaysthestandalonesystemwillmeetadefinedloadwithoutsolar
energyinput.Thistermisrelatedtosystemavailability.
DCtoDCConverter:Electroniccircuittoconvertdirectcurrentvoltages(e.g.,photovoltaicmodulevoltage)into
otherlevels(e.g.,loadvoltage).Canbepartofamaximumpowerpointtracker.
DeepCycleBattery:Abatterywithlargeplatesthatcanwithstandmanydischargestoalowstateofcharge.
DeepDischarge:Dischargingabatteryto20%orlessofitsfullchargecapacity.
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DepthofCharge:Theamperehoursremovedfromafullychargedcellorbattery,expressedasapercentageof
ratedcapacity.Forexample,theremovalof25amperehoursfromafullycharged100amperehoursratedcell
resultsina25%depthofdischarge.Undercertainconditions,suchasdischargerateslowerthanthatusedtorate
thecell,depthofdischargecanexceed100%.
Dendrites:Aslenderthreadlikespikeofpurecrystallinematerial,suchassilicon.
DendriticWebTechnique:Amethodformakingsheetsofpolycrystallinesiliconinwhichsilicondendritesare
slowlywithdrawnfromameltofsiliconwhereuponawebofsiliconformsbetweenthedendritesandsolidifiesasit
risesfromthemeltandcools.
DepletionZone:Sameascellbarrier.Thetermderivesfromthefactthatthismicroscopicallythinregionisdepleted
ofchargecarriers(freeelectronsandhole).
DesignMonth:Themonthhavingthecombinationofinsolationandloadthatrequiresthemaximumenergyfrom
thephotovoltaicarray.
DiffuseIsolation:Sunlightreceivedindirectlyasaresultofscatteringduetoclouds,fog,haze,dust,orother
obstructionsintheatmosphere.Oppositeofdirectinsolation.
DiffuseRadiation:Radiationreceivedfromthesunafterreflectionandscatteringbytheatmosphereandground.
DiffusionFurnace:Furnaceusedtomakejunctionsinsemiconductorsbydiffusingdopantatomsintothesurfaceof
thematerial.
DiffusionLength:Themeandistanceafreeelectronorholemovesbeforerecombiningwithanotherholeor
electron.
Diode:Anelectronicdevicethatallowscurrenttoflowinonedirectiononly.Seeblockingdiodeandbypassdiode.
DirectBeam:Radiationreceivedbydirectsolarrays.Measuredbyapyrheliometerwithasolarapertureof5.7to
transcribethesolardisc.
DirectCurrent(DC):Atypeofelectricitytransmissionanddistributionbywhichelectricityflowsinonedirection
throughtheconductor,usuallyrelativelylowvoltageandhighcurrent.Tobeusedfortypical120voltor220volt
householdappliances,DCmustbeconvertedtoalternatingcurrent,itsopposite.
DirectInsolation:Sunlightfallingdirectlyuponacollector.Oppositeofdiffuseinsolation.
Discharge:Thewithdrawalofelectricalenergyfromabattery.
DischargeFactor:Anumberequivalenttothetimeinhoursduringwhichabatteryisdischargedatconstantcurrent
usuallyexpressedasapercentageofthetotalbatterycapacity,i.e.,C/5indicatesadischargefactorof5hours.
Relatedtodischargerate.
DischargeRate:Therate,usuallyexpressedinamperesortime,atwhichelectricalcurrentistakenfromthe
battery.
Disconnect:Switchgearusedtoconnectordisconnectcomponentsinaphotovoltaicsystem.

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DistributedEnergyResources(DER):Avarietyofsmall,modularpowergeneratingtechnologiesthatcanbe
combinedwithenergymanagementandstoragesystemsandusedtoimprovetheoperationoftheelectricity
deliverysystem,whetherornotthosetechnologiesareconnectedtoanelectricitygrid.
DistributedGeneration:Apopulartermforlocalizedoronsitepowergeneration.
DistributedPower:Generictermforanypowersupplylocatednearthepointwherethepowerisused.Oppositeof
centralpower.Seestandalonesystems.
DistributedSystems:Systemsthatareinstalledatornearthelocationwheretheelectricityisused,asopposedto
centralsystemsthatsupplyelectricitytogrids.Aresidentialphotovoltaicsystemisadistributedsystem.
Donor:Inaphotovoltaicdevice,anntypedopant,suchasphosphorus,thatputsanadditionalelectronintoan
energylevelveryneartheconductionbandthiselectroniseasilyexitedintotheconductionbandwhereitincreases
theelectricalconductivityoverthanofanundopedsemiconductor.
DonorLevel:Thelevelthatdonatesconductionelectronstothesystem.
Dopant:Achemicalelement(impurity)addedinsmallamountstoanotherwisepuresemiconductormaterialto
modifytheelectricalpropertiesofthematerial.Anndopantintroducesmoreelectrons.Apdopantcreateselectron
vacancies(holes).
Doping:Theadditionofdopantstoasemiconductor.
Downtime:Timewhenthephotovoltaicsystemcannotprovidepowerfortheload.Usuallyexpressedinhoursper
yearorapercentageoftotal.
DryCell:Acell(battery)withacaptiveelectrolyte.Aprimarybatterythatcannotberecharged.
DutyCycle:Theratioofactivetimetototaltime.Usedtodescribetheoperatingregimeofappliancesorloadsin
photovoltaicsystems.
DutyRating:Theamountoftimeaninverter(powerconditioningunit)canproduceatfullratedpower.

>>Backtotop

E
EdgeDefinedFilmFedGrowth(EFG):Amethodformakingsheetsofpolycrystallinesiliconforphotovoltaic
devicesinwhichmoltensiliconisdrawnupwardbycapillaryactionthroughamold.
ElectricCircuit:Thepathfollowedbyelectronsfromapowersource(generatororbattery),throughanelectrical
system,andreturningtothesource.
ElectricCurrent:Theflowofelectricalenergy(electricity)inaconductor,measuredinamperes.
ElectricalGrid:Anintegratedsystemofelectricitydistribution,usuallycoveringalargearea.
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Electricity:Energyresultingfromtheflowofchargeparticles,suchaselectronsorions.
Electrochemical:Adevicecontainingtwoconductingelectrodes,onepositiveandtheothernegative,madeof
dissimilarmaterials(usuallymetals)thatareimmersedinachemicalsolution(electrolyte)thattransmitspositiveions
fromthenegativetothepositiveelectrodeandthusformsanelectricalcharge.Oneormorecellsconstitutea
battery.
Electrode:Aconductorthatisbroughtinconductingcontactwithaground.
Electrodeposition:Electrolyticprocessinwhichametalisdepositedatthecathodefromasolutionofitsion.
Electrolyte:Anonmetallic(liquidorsolid)conductorthatcarriescurrentbythemovementofions(insteadof
electrons)withtheliberationofmatterattheelectrodesofanelectrochemicalcell.
Electrons:Anelementaryparticleofanatomwithanegativeelectricalchargeandamassof1/1837ofaproton
electronssurroundthepositivelychargednucleusofanatomanddeterminethechemicalpropertiesofanatom.The
movementofelectronsinanelectricalconductorconstitutesanelectriccurrent.
ElectronVolts:Theamountofkineticenergygainedbyanelectronwhenacceleratedthroughanelectricpotential
differenceof1Voltequivalentto1.603x10^19aunitofenergyorwork.
EmbodiedEnergy:Thetotalamountofenergynecessarytobuildthesystemfromrawmaterialsthroughenergy
conversion.
Energy:Thecapabilityofdoingworkdifferentformsofenergycanbeconvertedtootherforms,butthetotalamount
ofenergyremainsthesame.
EnergyAudit:Asurveythatshowshowmuchenergyusedinahome,whichhelpsfindwaystouselessenergy.
EnergyContributionPotential:Recombinationoccurringintheemitterregionofaphotovoltaiccell.
EnergyDensity:Theratioofavailableenergyperpoundusuallyusedtocomparestoragebatteries.
EnergyLevels:Theenergyrepresentedbyanelectroninthebandmodelofasubstance.
EnergyPayback:Theperiodoftimerequiredforthesystemtogeneratetheembodiedenergybyconverting
sunlighttoelectricity.
EPC:Anabbreviationfor"Engineering,ProcurementandConstruction".AnEPCcontractorofphotovoltaicenergy
systemsidentifieswhichengineering,technologies,andinstallationpartnerswillworkbestforeachprojectpursuit.
EpitaxialGrowth:Thegrowthofonecrystalonthesurfaceofanothercrystal.Thegrowthofthedepositedcrystalis
orientedbythelatticestructureoftheoriginalcrystal.
Equalization:Theprocessofrestoringallcellsinabatterytoanequalstateofcharge.Somebatterytypesmay
requireacompletedischargeasapartoftheequalizationprocess.
EqualizationCharge:Theprocessofmixingtheelectrolyteinbatteriesbyperiodicallyoverchargingthebatteriesfor
ashorttime.

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EqualizingCharge:Acontinuationofnormalbatterycharging,atavoltagelevelslightlyhigherthanthenormalend
ofchargevoltage,inordertoprovidecellequalizationwithinabattery.
Equinox:Thetwotimesoftheyearwhenthesuncrossestheequatorandnightanddayisofequallengthusually
occursonMarch21st(springequinox)andSeptember23(fallequinox).
ExtrinsicSemiconductor:Theproductofdopingapuresemiconductor.

>>Backtotop

F
FeedinTariff(FiT):AnagreementthatallowsownersofPVsystemstosellenergytotheelectricgrid.Thegridis
requiredtobuythepoweratratesthatarehigherthantheusualretailprice.Thepricedeclineswiththeageofthe
installation,therebyencouragingnewinvestmentinPVpanelsinordertocaptureahighertariff.
FermiLevel:Energylevelatwhichtheprobabilityoffindinganelectronisonehalf.Inametal,theFermilevelis
verynearthetopofthefilledlevelsinthepartiallyfilledvalenceband.Inasemiconductor,theFermilevelisinthe
bandgap.
FillFactor:Theratioofaphotovoltaiccell'sactualpowertoitspowerifbothcurrentandvoltagewereattheir
maxima.Akeycharacteristicinevaluatingcellperformance.
FixedTiltArray:Aphotovoltaicarraysetinatafixedanglewithrespecttohorizontal.
FlatPlateArray:Aphotovoltaic(PV)arraythatconsistsofnonconcentratingPVmodules.
FlatPlateModule:Anarrangementofphotovoltaiccellsormaterialmountedonarigidflatsurfacewiththecells
exposedfreelytoincomingsunlight.
FlatPlatePhotovoltaics(PV):APVarrayormodulethatconsistsofnoconcentratingelements.Flatplatearrays
andmodulesusedirectanddiffusesunlight,butifthearrayisfixedinposition,someportionofthedirectsunlightis
lostbecauseofobliquesunanglesinrelationtothearray.
FloatCharge:Thevoltagerequiredtocounteracttheselfdischargeofthebatteryatacertaintemperature.
FloatLife:Thenumberofyearsthatabatterycankeepitsstatedcapacitywhenitiskeptatfloatcharge.
FloatService:Abatteryoperationinwhichthebatteryisnormallyconnectedtoanexternalcurrentsourcefor
instance,abatterychargerwhichsuppliesthebatteryload<undernormalconditions,whilealsoprovidingenough
energyinputtothebatterytomakeupforitsinternalquiescentlosses,thuskeepingthebatteryalwaysuptofull
powerandreadyforservice.
FloatZoneProcess:Inreferencetosolarphotovoltaiccellmanufacture,amethodofgrowingalargesize,high
qualitycrystalwherebycoilsheatapolycrystallineingotplacedatopasinglecrystalseed.Asthecoilsareslowly
raisedthemolteninterfacebeneaththecoilsbecomesasinglecrystal.
Fresnellens:Anopticaldevicethatfocuseslightlikeamagnifyingglassconcentricringsarefacedatslightly
differentanglessothatlightfallingonanyringisfocusedtothesamepoint.
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Frequency:Thenumberofrepetitionsperunittimeofacompletewaveform,expressedinHertz(Hz).
FrequencyRegulation:Thisindicatesthevariabilityintheoutputfrequency.Someloadswillswitchoffornot
operateproperlyiffrequencyvariationsexceed1%.
FullSun:Theamountofpowerdensityinsunlightreceivedattheearth'ssurfaceatnoononaclearday(about
1,000Watts/squaremeter).

G
Gallium(Ga):Achemicalelement,metallicinnature,usedinmakingcertainkindsofsolarcellsandsemiconductor
devices.
GalliumArsenide(GaAs):Acrystalline,highefficiencycompoundusedtomakecertaintypesofsolarcellsand
semiconductormaterial.
Gassing:Theevolutionofgasfromoneormoreoftheelectrodesinthecellsofabattery.Gassingcommonly
resultsfromlocalactionselfdischargeorfromtheelectrolysisofwaterintheelectrolyteduringcharging.
GassingCurrent:Theportionofchargecurrentthatgoesintoelectrolyticproductionofhydrogenandoxygenfrom
theelectrolyticliquid.Thiscurrentincreaseswithincreasingvoltageandtemperature.
GelTypeBattery:Leadacidbatteryinwhichtheelectrolyteiscomposedofasilicagelmatrix.
Germanium:Acrystallineelementthatisasemiconductingmetalloid(resemblingsilicon)usedinsemiconductor
devices.
Gigawatt(GW):Aunitofpowerequalto1billionWatts1millionkilowatts,or1,000megawatts.
Grid:Seeelectricalgrid.
GridConnectedSystem:Asolarelectricorphotovoltaic(PV)systeminwhichthePVarrayactslikeacentral
generatingplant,supplyingpowertothegrid.
GridInteractiveSystem:Sameasgridconnectedsystem.
GridLines:Metalliccontactsfusedtothesurfaceofthesolarcelltoprovidealowresistancepathforelectronsto
flowouttothecellinterconnectwires.

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H
HarmonicContent:Thenumberoffrequenciesintheoutputwaveforminadditiontotheprimaryfrequency(50or
60Hz.).Energyintheseharmonicfrequenciesislostandmaycauseexcessiveheatingoftheload.
HCPV:HighConcentrationPhotovoltaictypicallyreferstoaConcentratingPhotovoltaicsystemthatcanconcentrate
sunlightupto300sunsormore.
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Heliostat:Amirrorwhichtracksthesun'smovementduringthedayandreflectsthesun'sheatonacentralreceiver
locatedontopofatower.Usedintowertypesolarthermalplants.
Heterojunction:Aregionofelectricalcontactbetweentwodifferentmaterials.
HighVoltageDisconnect:Thevoltageatwhichachargecontrollerwilldisconnectthephotovoltaicarrayfromthe
batteriestopreventovercharging.
HighVoltageDisconnectHysteresis:Thevoltagedifferencebetweenthehighvoltagedisconnectsetpointand
thevoltageatwhichthefullphotovoltaicarraycurrentwillbereapplied.
Holes:Thevacancywhereanelectronwouldnormallyexistinasolidbehaveslikeapositivelychargedparticle.
Homojunction:Theregionbetweenannlayerandaplayerinasinglematerial,photovoltaiccell.
Hybrid:Asolarelectricorphotovoltaicsystemthatincludesothersourcesofelectricitygeneration,suchaswindor
dieselgenerators.
HydrogenatedAmorphousSilicon:Amorphoussiliconwithasmallamountofincorporatedhydrogen.The
hydrogenneutralizesdanglingbondsintheamorphoussilicon,allowingchargecarrierstoflowmorefreely.

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I
IEC62108:TheInternationalElectrotechnicalCommission(IEC)standardthatcomprisestheexaminationof
parameterswhichareresponsiblefortheageingofCPVmoduledesignsorCPVassemblies,anddescribesthe
variousqualificationtestsonthebasisoftheartificialstressofthematerials.Testsincluderadiationorlight
exposure,thermalandclimaticstressaswellasmechanicaltesting.
IncidentLight:Lightthatshinesontothefaceofasolarcellormodule.
IndiumOxide:Awidebandgapsemiconductorthatcanbeheavilydopedwithtintomakeahighlyconductive,
transparentthinfilm.Oftenusedasafrontcontactoronecomponentofaheterojunctionsolarcell.
InfraredRadiation:Electromagneticradiationwhosewavelengthslieintherangefrom0.75micrometerto1000
micrometersinvisiblelongwavelengthradiation(heat)capableofproducingathermalorphotovoltaiceffect,though
lesseffectivethanvisiblelight.
InputVoltage:Thisisdeterminedbythetotalpowerrequiredbythealternatingcurrentloadsandthevoltageofany
directcurrentloads.Generally,thelargertheload,thehighertheinverterinputvoltage.Thiskeepsthecurrentat
levelswhereswitchesandothercomponentsarereadilyavailable.
Insolation:Thesolarpowerdensityincidentonasurfaceofstatedareaandorientation,usuallyexpressedasWatts
persquaremeterorBtupersquarefootperhour.Seediffuseinsolationanddirectinsolation.
Interconnect:Aconductorwithinamoduleorothermeansofconnectionthatprovidesanelectricalinterconnection
betweenthesolarcells.

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IntermediateLoad:Energydemandthatfallsbetweenpeakloadandbaseload.Productionisvariedtomeet
needs.
IntrinsicLayer:Alayerofsemiconductormaterial,usedinaphotovoltaicdevice,whosepropertiesareessentially
thoseofthepure,undoped,material.
IntrinsicSemiconductor:Anundopedsemiconductor.
Inverter:Apowerconverterthatconvertsdirectcurrentelectricitytoalternatingcurrenteitherforstandalone
electricalpowersystemsortosupplypowertoanelectricitygrid.
Ion:Anelectricallychargedatomorgroupofatomsthathaslostorgainedelectronsalossmakestheresulting
particlepositivelychargedagainmakestheparticlenegativelycharged.
Irradiance:Thedirect,diffuse,andreflectedsolarradiationthatstrikesasurface.Usuallyexpressedinkilowattsper
squaremeter.Irradiancemultipliedbytimeequalsinsolation.
ISPRAGuidelines:Guidelinesfortheassessmentofphotovoltaicpowerplants,publishedbytheJointResearch
CentreoftheCommissionoftheEuropeanCommunities,Ispra,Italy.
ITypeSemiconductor:Semiconductormaterialthatisleftintrinsic,orundopedsothattheconcentrationofcharge
carriersischaracteristicofthematerialitselfratherthanofaddedimpurities.
IV:Agraphicalpresentationofthecurrentversusthevoltagefromaphotovoltaicdeviceastheloadisincreased
fromtheshortcircuit(noload)conditiontotheopencircuit(maximumvoltage)condition.Theshapeofthecurve
characterizescellperformance.

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J
Joule:Ametricunitofenergyorwork1joulepersecondequals1wattor0.737footpounds1Btuequals1,055
joules.
Junction:Aregionoftransitionbetweensemiconductorlayers,suchasap/njunction,whichgoesfromaregionthat
hasahighconcentrationofacceptors(ptype)toonethathasahighconcentrationofdonors(ntype).
JunctionBox:Aphotovoltaic(PV)generatorjunctionboxisanenclosureonthemodulewherePVstringsare
electricallyconnectedandwhereprotectiondevicescan
JunctionDiode:Asemiconductordevicewithajunctionandabuiltinpotentialthatpassescurrentbetterinone
directionthantheother.Allsolarcellsarejunctiondiodes.

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K
Kilowatt:Astandardunitofelectricalpowerequalto1000watts,ortotheenergyconsumptionatarateof1000
joulespersecond.
KilowattHours:1,000thousandwattsactingoveraperiodof1hour.ThekWhisaunitofenergy.1kWh=3600kJ.

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L
Langley(L):Unitofsolarirradiance.Onegramcaloriepersquarecentimeter.1L=85.93kwh/m2.
Lattice:Theregularperiodicarrangementofatomsormoleculesinacrystalofsemiconductormaterial.
LeadAcidBattery:Abatterywithplatesmadeofpurelead,leadantimony,orleadcalciumimmersedinanacid
(typicallydilutesulphuricacid)electrolyte.
LevelizedCostofEnergy(LCOE):Measuresthecostofgenerationoverthelifetimeoftheenergyasset.LCOEis
arrivedatbydividingtotalsystemcostbylifetimeenergyproduced.
Life:Theperiodduringwhichasystemiscapableofoperatingaboveaspecifiedperformancelevel.
LifeCycleCost:Theestimatedcostofowningandoperatingaphotovoltaicsystemfortheperiodofitsusefullife.
LightInducedDefects:Defects,suchasdanglingbonds,inducedinanamorphoussiliconsemiconductorupon
initialexposuretolight.
LightTrapping:Thetrappingoflightinsideasemiconductormaterialbyrefractingandreflectingthelightatcritical
anglestrappedlightwilltravelfurtherinthematerial,greatlyincreasingtheprobabilityofabsorptionandhenceof
producingchargecarriers.
LineCommutatedInverter:Aninverterthatistiedtoapowergridorline.Thecommutationofpower(conversion
fromdirectcurrenttoalternatingcurrent)iscontrolledbythepowerline,sothat,ifthereisafailureinthepowergrid,
thephotovoltaicsystemcannotfeedpowerintotheline.
LinearFresnelReflector(LFR):Asolarthermalconcentratingtechnologyusinglong,thinsegmentsofmirrorsto
focussunlightontoafixedabsorberlocatedatacommonfocalpointofthereflectors.Thesemirrorsarecapableof
concentratingthesun'senergytomanytimesitsnormalintensity.
LiquidElectrolyteBattery:Abatterycontainingaliquidsolutionofacidandwater.Distilledwatermaybeaddedto
thesebatteriestoreplenishtheelectrolyteasnecessary.Alsocalledafloodedbatterybecausetheplatesare
coveredwiththeelectrolyte.
LithiumIonBattery:Arechargeablebatteryinwhichlithiumionsmovefromthenegativeelectrodetothepositive
electrodeduringdischarge,andreverselywhencharged.
Load:Thedemandonanenergyproducingsystemtheenergyconsumptionorrequirementofapieceorgroupof
equipment.Usuallyexpressedintermsofamperesorwattsinreferencetoelectricity.

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LoadCircuit:Thewire,switches,fuses,etc.thatconnecttheloadtothepowersource.
LoadCurrent(A):Thecurrentrequiredbytheelectricaldevice.
LoadResistance:Theresistancepresentedbytheload.Seeresistance.
LowVoltageCutoff(LVC):Thevoltagelevelatwhichachargecontrollerwilldisconnecttheloadfromthebattery.
LowVoltageDisconnect:Thevoltageatwhichachargecontrollerwilldisconnecttheloadfromthebatteriesto
preventoverdischarging.
LowVoltageDisconnectHysteresis:Thevoltagedifferencebetweenthelowvoltagedisconnectsetpointandthe
voltageatwhichtheloadwillbereconnected.
LowVoltageWarning:Awarningbuzzerorlightthatindicatesthelowbatteryvoltagesetpointhasbeenreached.

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M
MaintenanceFreeBattery:Asealedbatterytowhichwatercannotbeaddedtomaintainelectrolytelevel.
MajorityCarrier:Currentcarriers(eitherfreeelectronsorholes)thatareinexcessinaspecificlayerofa
semiconductormaterial(electronsinthenlayer,holesintheplayer)ofacell.
MaximumPowerPointTracking(MPPT):Operatingaphotovoltaicarrayatthepeakpowerpointofthearray's
currentvoltage(IV)curve,wheretheproductofcurrentandvoltageismaximized(andthereforewheremaximum
powerisobtained).Foratypicalsiliconphotovoltaiccell,thisisatabout0.45volts.
Megawatt(MW):1,000kilowatts,or1millionwattsstandardmeasureofelectricpowerplantgeneratingcapacity.
MegawattHour:1,000kilowatthoursor1millionwatthours.
Microgroove:Asmallgroovescribedintothesurfaceofasolarcell,whichisfilledwithmetalforcontacts.
Microinverter:Apowerconverterdevicethatconvertsthedirectcurrent(DC)outputofasinglesolarmoduleinto
gridcompliantACpower.ACpowerthentravelsupstreamthroughanordinarybranchcircuittotheservicepanel.
AlsoseeInverter.
MinorityCarrier:Acurrentcarrier,eitheranelectronorahole,whichisintheminorityinaspecificlayerofa
semiconductormaterialthediffusionofminoritycarriersundertheactionofthecelljunctionvoltageisthecurrentin
aphotovoltaicdevice.
MinorityCarrierLifetime:Theaveragetimeaminoritycarrierexistsbeforerecombination.
ModifiedSineWave:Awaveformthathasatleastthreestates(i.e.,positive,off,andnegative).Haslessharmonic
contentthanasquarewave.
Modularity:Theuseofmultipleinvertersconnectedinparalleltoservicedifferentloads.
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Module:Seephotovoltaic(PV)module.
ModuleDerateFactor:Afactorthatlowersthephotovoltaicmodulecurrenttoaccountforfieldoperatingconditions
suchasdirtaccumulationonthemodule.
Monolithic:Fabricatedasasinglestructure.
Movistor:MetalOxideVaristor.Usedtoprotectelectroniccircuitsfromsurgecurrentssuchasthoseproducedby
lightning.
Multicrystalline:Asemiconductor(photovoltaic)materialcomposedofvariouslyoriented,small,individualcrystals.
Sometimesreferredtoaspolycrystallineorsemicrystalline.
MultijunctionDevice:Ahighefficiencyphotovoltaicdevicecontainingtwoormorecelljunctions,eachofwhichis
optimizedforaparticularpartofthesolarspectrum.
MultiStageController:Achargingcontrollerunitthatallowsdifferentchargingcurrentsasthebatterynearsfull
stateofcharge.
MustTake:Powerthatisusedasitisgeneratedandgoesstraighttothegrid.

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N
NEC(NationalElectricalCode):Containsguidelinesforalltypesofelectricalinstallations.The1984andlater
editionsoftheNECcontainArticle690,"SolarPhotovoltaicSystems"whichshouldbefollowedwheninstallingaPV
system.
NickelCadmiumBattery:Abatterycontainingnickelandcadmiumplatesandanalkalineelectrolyte.
NominalVoltage:Areferencevoltageusedtodescribebatteries,modules,orsystems(i.e.,a12voltor24volt
battery,module,orsystem).
NormalOperatingCellTemperature(NOCT):Theestimatedtemperatureofaphotovoltaicmodulewhenoperating
under800w/m2irradiance,20Cambienttemperatureandwindspeedof1meterpersecond.NOCTisusedto
estimatethenominaloperatingtemperatureofamoduleinitsworkingenvironment.
NType:Negativesemiconductormaterialinwhichtherearemoreelectronsthanholescurrentiscarriedthroughit
bytheflowofelectrons.
NTypeSemiconductor:Asemiconductorproducedbydopinganintrinsicsemiconductorwithanelectrondonor
impurity(e.g.,phosphorusinsilicon).
NTypeSilicon:Siliconmaterialthathasbeendopedwithamaterialthathasmoreelectronsinitsatomicstructure
thandoessilicon.

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>>Backtotop

O
Ohm:Ameasureoftheelectricalresistanceofamaterialequaltotheresistanceofacircuitinwhichthepotential
differenceof1voltproducesacurrentof1ampere.
OneAxisTracking:Asystemcapableofrotatingaboutoneaxis.
OpenCircuitVoltage(Voc):Themaximumpossiblevoltageacrossaphotovoltaiccellthevoltageacrossthecellin
sunlightwhennocurrentisflowing.
OperatingPoint:Thecurrentandvoltagethataphotovoltaicmoduleorarrayproduceswhenconnectedtoaload.
Theoperatingpointisdependentontheloadorthebatteriesconnectedtotheoutputterminalsofthearray.
Orientation:Placementwithrespecttothecardinaldirections,N,S,E,Wazimuthisthemeasureoforientation
fromnorth.
Overcharge:Forcingcurrentintoafullychargedbattery.Thebatterywillbedamagedifoverchargedforalong
period.

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P
PackingFactor:Theratioofarrayareatoactuallandareaorbuildingenvelopeareaforasystemor,theratioof
totalsolarcellareatothetotalmodulearea,foramodule.
Panel:Seephotovoltaic(PV)panel.
ParabolicTrough:Atroughtypesolarcollectorwithcylindricalparabolicmirrorsthatfocusthereflectedlightona
specialtubemountedinfrontofit.
ParallelConnection:Awayofjoiningsolarcellsorphotovoltaicmodulesbyconnectingpositiveleadstogetherand
negativeleadstogethersuchaconfigurationincreasesthecurrent,butnotthevoltage.
Passivation:Achemicalreactionthateliminatesthedetrimentaleffectofelectricallyreactiveatomsonasolarcell's
surface.
PeakLoads:Themaximumenergydemandorloadinaspecifiedtimeperiod.
PeakPowerCurrent:AmperesproducedbyaphotovoltaicmoduleorarrayoperatingatthevoltageoftheIVcurve
thatwillproducemaximumpowerfromthemodule.
PeakPowerPoint:OperatingpointoftheIV(currentvoltage)curveforasolarcellorphotovoltaicmodulewhere
theproductofthecurrentvaluetimesthevoltagevalueisamaximum.
PeakPowerTracking:seemaximumpowertracking.
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PeakSunHours:Theequivalentnumberofhoursperdaywhensolarirradianceaverages1,000w/m2.For
example,sixpeaksunhoursmeansthattheenergyreceivedduringtotaldaylighthoursequalstheenergythat
wouldhavebeenreceivedhadtheirradianceforsixhoursbeen1,000w/m2.
PeakWatt:Aunitusedtoratetheperformanceofsolarcells,modules,orarraysthemaximumnominaloutputofa
photovoltaicdevice,inwatts(Wp)understandardizedtestconditions,usually1,000wattspersquaremeterof
sunlightwithotherconditions,suchastemperaturespecified.
Phosphorous:Achemicalelementusedasadopantinmakingntypesemiconductorlayers.
Photocurrent:Anelectriccurrentinducedbyradiantenergy.
PhotoelectricCell:Adeviceformeasuringlightintensitythatworksbyconvertinglightfallingon,orreachit,to
electricity,andthenmeasuringthecurrentusedinphotometers.
PhotoelectrochemicalCell:Atypeofphotovoltaicdeviceinwhichtheelectricityinducedinthecellisused
immediatelywithinthecelltoproduceachemical,suchashydrogen,whichcanthenbewithdrawnforuse.
Photon:Aparticleoflightthatactsasanindividualunitofenergy.
Photovoltaic:Pertainingtothedirectconversionoflightintoelectricity.
PhotovoltaicArray:AninterconnectedsystemofPVmodulesthatfunctionasasingleelectricityproducingunit.
Themodulesareassembledasadiscretestructure,withcommonsupportormounting.Insmallersystems,anarray
canconsistofasinglemodule.
PhotovoltaicCell:ThesmallestsemiconductorelementwithinaPVmodule,consistingoflayersofsemiconductor
materialsfabricatedtoformajunction(adjacentlayersofmaterialswithdifferentelectroniccharacteristics)and
electricalcontacts,toconvertlightdirectlyintoelectricalenergy(directcurrentvoltageandcurrent).Alsocalleda
solarcell.
PhotovoltaicEfficiency:Theratiooftheelectricpowerproducedbyaphotovoltaicdevicetothepowerofthe
sunlightincidentonthedevice.
PhotovoltaicDevice:Asolidstateelectricaldevicethatconvertslightdirectlyintodirectcurrentelectricityof
`voltagecurrentcharacteristicsthatareafunctionofthecharacteristicsofthelightsourceandthematerialsinand
designofthedevice.Solarphotovoltaicdevicesaremadeofvarioussemiconductormaterialsincludingsilicon,
cadmiumsulfide,cadmiumtelluride,andgalliumarsenide,andinsinglecrystalline,multicrystalline,oramorphous
forms.
PhotovoltaicEffect:Thephenomenonthatoccurswhenphotons,the"particles"inabeamoflight,knockelectrons
loosefromtheatomstheystrike.Whenthispropertyoflightiscombinedwiththepropertiesofsemiconductors,
electronsflowinonedirectionacrossajunction,settingupavoltage.Withtheadditionofcircuitry,currentwillflow
andelectricpowerwillbeavailable.
PhotovoltaicGenerator:ThetotalofallPVstringsofaPVpowersupplysystem,whichareelectrically
interconnected.
PhotovoltaicModule:Theplanarassemblyofsolarcellsandancillaryparts,suchasinterconnections,terminals,
[andprotectivedevicessuchasdiodes]intendedtogeneratedirectcurrentpowerunderunconcentratedsunlight.
Thestructural(loadcarrying)memberofamodulecaneitherbethetoplayer(superstrate)orthebacklayer
(substrate).
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PhotovoltaicPanel:oftenusedinterchangeablywithPVmodule(especiallyinonemodulesystems),butmore
accuratelyusedtorefertoaphysicallyconnectedcollectionofmodules(i.e.,alaminatestringofmodulesusedto
achievearequiredvoltageandcurrent).
PhotovoltaicSystem:Acompletesetofcomponentsforconvertingsunlightintoelectricitybythephotovoltaic
process,includingthearrayandbalanceofsystemcomponents.
PhotovoltaicThermal(PV/T)System:Aphotovoltaicsystemthat,inadditiontoconvertingsunlightintoelectricity,
collectstheresidualheatenergyanddeliversbothheatandelectricityinusableform.
PhysicalVaporDeposition:Amethodofdepositingthinsemiconductorphotovoltaicfilms.Withthismethod,
physicalprocesses,suchasthermalevaporationorbombardmentofions,areusedtodepositelemental
semiconductormaterialonasubstrate.
PIN:Asemiconductorphotovoltaic(PV)devicestructurethatlayersanintrinsicsemiconductorbetweenaptype
semiconductorandanntypesemiconductorthisstructureismostoftenusedwithamorphoussiliconPVdevices.
Plates:Ametalplate,usuallyleadorleadcompound,immersedintheelectrolyteinabattery.
P/N:Asemiconductorphotovoltaicdevicestructureinwhichthejunctionisformedbetweenaptypelayerandann
typelayer.
PocketPlate:Aplateforabatteryinwhichactivematerialsareheldinaperforatedmetalpocket.
PointContactCell:Ahighefficiencysiliconphotovoltaicconcentratorcellthatemployslighttrappingtechniquesand
pointdiffusedcontactsontherearsurfaceforcurrentcollection.
PolycrystallineSilicon:Alsoknownassemicrystallinesilicon,polysilicon,polySi,orsimply"poly",isamaterial
usedtomakephotovoltaiccells,whichconsistsofmanysiliconcrystals,unlikesinglecrystalsilicon.Polycrystalline
cellscanberecognizedbyavisiblegraininthesilicon,a"metalflakeeffect".AlsoseeMulticrystalline.
PowerConditioning:Theprocessofmodifyingthecharacteristicsofelectricalpower(fore.g.,invertingdirect
currenttoalternatingcurrent).
PowerConditioningEquipment:Electricalequipment,orpowerelectronics,usedtoconvertpowerfroma
photovoltaicarrayintoaformsuitableforsubsequentuse.Acollectivetermforinverter,converter,batterycharge
regulator,andblockingdiode.
PowerConversionEfficiency:Theratioofoutputpowertoinputpoweroftheinverter.
PowerDensity:Theratioofthepoweravailablefromabatterytoitsmass(W/kg)orvolume(W/l).
PowerFactor:Theratioofactualpowerbeingusedinacircuit,expressedinwattsorkilowatts,tothepowerthatis
apparentlybeingdrawnfromapowersource,expressedinvoltamperesorkilovoltamperes.
PowerOptimizer:ADCtoDCconvertertechnologydesignedtomaximizetheenergygeneratedfromsolar
photovoltaicsystemsbymaximizingtheenergyoutputfromeachsolarmoduleinastring.Poweroptimizersuse
algorithmstoenableeachsolarpaneltoproducethemaximumenergyregardlessofwhetherotherpanelsinthe
arrayareunderperformingduetomismatchcausedbyshading,paneltopanelmismatch,differentpanel
orientationsandtilts,ordifferentstringlengths.
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PowerPurchaseAgreement(PPA):Alongtermcontractbetweenanenergyproviderandacustomertopurchase
ongoingpoweratrateswithpredeterminedannualincreases.
PrimaryBattery:Abatterywhoseinitialcapacitycannotberestoredbycharging.
ProjectedArea:Thenetsouthfacingglazingareaprojectedonaverticalplane.
PTypeSemiconductor:Asemiconductorinwhichholescarrythecurrentproducedbydopinganintrinsic
semiconductorwithanelectronacceptorimpurity(e.g.,boroninsilicon).
PulseWidthModulated(PWM)WaveInverter:Atypeofpowerinverterthatproduceahighquality(nearly
sinusoidal)voltage,atminimumcurrentharmonics.
Pyranometer:Aninstrumentusedformeasuringglobalsolarirradiance.
Pyrheliometer:Aninstrumentusedformeasuringdirectbeamsolarirradiance.Usesanapertureof5.7to
transcribethesolardisc.

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Q
Quad:OnequadrillionBtu(1,000,000,000,000,000Btu).
QualificationTest:Aprocedureappliedtoaselectedsetofphotovoltaicmodulesinvolvingtheapplicationof
definedelectrical,mechanical,orthermalstressinaprescribedmannerandamount.Testresultsaresubjecttoalist
ofdefinedrequirements.
QuantumDot:Ananoscalecrystalofsemiconductormaterialcomposedofvariouschemicalcompoundssuchas
zincsulphide,leadsulphide,cadmiumselenideandindiumphosphide.These"nanoparticles"reacttolightby
absorbingitandthenemittingtheirownlightacoupleofnanosecondslater.

>>Backtotop

R
RatedBatteryCapacity:Thetermusedbybatterymanufacturerstoindicatethemaximumamountofenergythat
canbewithdrawnfromabatteryunderspecifieddischargerateandtemperature.Seebatterycapacity.
RatedModuleCurrent(A):Thecurrentoutputofaphotovoltaicmodulemeasuredatstandardtestconditionsof
1,000w/m2and25?Ccelltemperature.
RatedPower:Ratedpoweroftheinverter.However,someunitscannotproduceratedpowercontinuously.Seeduty
rating.
ReactivePower:Thesineofthephaseanglebetweenthecurrentandvoltagewaveformsinanalternatingcurrent
system.Seepowerfactor.
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Recombination:Theactionofafreeelectronfallingbackintoahole.Recombinationprocessesareeitherradiative,
wheretheenergyofrecombinationresultsintheemissionofaphoton,ornonradiative,wheretheenergyof
recombinationisgiventoasecondelectronwhichthenrelaxesbacktoitsoriginalenergybyemittingphonons.
Recombinationcantakeplaceinthebulkofthesemiconductor,atthesurfaces,inthejunctionregion,atdefects,or
betweeninterfaces.
Rectifier:Adevicethatconvertsalternatingcurrenttodirectcurrent.Seeinverter.
Regulator:Preventsoverchargingofbatteriesbycontrollingchargecycleusuallyadjustabletoconformtospecific
batteryneeds.
ReserveCapacity:Theamountofgeneratingcapacityacentralpowersystemmustmaintaintomeetpeakloads.
Resistance:Thepropertyofaconductor,whichopposestheflowofanelectriccurrentresultinginthegenerationof
heatintheconductingmaterial.Themeasureoftheresistanceofagivenconductoristheelectromotiveforce
neededforaunitcurrentflow.Theunitofresistanceisohms.
ResistiveVoltageDrop:Thevoltagedevelopedacrossacellbythecurrentflowthroughtheresistanceofthecell.
ReverseCurrentProtection:Anymethodofpreventingunwantedcurrentflowfromthebatterytothephotovoltaic
array(usuallyatnight).Seeblockingdiode.
Ribbon(Photovoltaic)Cells:Atypeofphotovoltaicdevicemadeinacontinuousprocessofpullingmaterialfroma
moltenbathofphotovoltaicmaterial,suchassilicon,toformathinsheetofmaterial.
RMS:Thesquarerootoftheaveragesquareoftheinstantaneousvaluesofanacoutput.ForasinewavetheRMS
valueis0.707timesthepeakvalue.Theequivalentvalueofalternatingcurrent,I,thatwillproducethesameheating
inaconductorwithresistance,R,asadccurrentofvalueI.

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S
SacrificialAnode:Apieceofmetalburiednearastructurethatistobeprotectedfromcorrosion.Themetalofthe
sacrificialanodeisintendedtocorrodeandreducethecorrosionoftheprotectedstructure.
SatellitePowerSystem(SPS):ConceptforprovidinglargeamountsofelectricityforuseontheEarthfromoneor
moresatellitesingeosynchronousEarthorbit.Averylargearrayofsolarcellsoneachsatellitewouldprovide
electricity,whichwouldbeconvertedtomicrowaveenergyandbeamedtoareceivingantennaontheground.There,
itwouldbereconvertedintoelectricityanddistributedthesameasanyothercentrallygeneratedpower,througha
grid.
SchottkyBarrier:Acellbarrierestablishedastheinterfacebetweenasemiconductor,suchassilicon,andasheet
ofmetal.
Scribing:Thecuttingofagridpatternofgroovesinasemiconductormaterial,generallyforthepurposeofmaking
interconnections.

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SealedBattery:Abatterywithacaptiveelectrolyteandaresealingventcap,alsocalledavalveregulatedbattery.
Electrolytecannotbeadded.
SeasonalDepthofDischarge:Anadjustmentfactorusedinsomesystemsizingprocedureswhich"allows"the
batterytobegraduallydischargedovera3090dayperiodofpoorsolarinsolation.Thisfactorresultsinaslightly
smallerphotovoltaicarray.
SecondaryBattery:Abatterythatcanberecharged.
SelfDischarge:Therateatwhichabattery,withoutaload,willloseitscharge.
Semiconductor:Anymaterialthathasalimitedcapacityforconductinganelectriccurrent.Certainsemiconductors,
includingsilicon,galliumarsenide,copperindiumdiselenide,andcadmiumtelluride,areuniquelysuitedtothe
photovoltaicconversionprocess.
SeriesConnection:Awayofjoiningphotovoltaiccellsbyconnectingpositiveleadstonegativeleadssucha
configurationincreasesthevoltage.
SeriesController:Achargecontrollerthatinterruptsthechargingcurrentbyopencircuitingthephotovoltaic(PV)
array.ThecontrolelementisinserieswiththePVarrayandbattery.
SeriesRegulator:Typeofbatterychargeregulatorwherethechargingcurrentiscontrolledbyaswitchconnected
inserieswiththephotovoltaicmoduleorarray.
SeriesResistance:Parasiticresistancetocurrentflowinacellduetomechanismssuchasresistancefromthebulk
ofthesemiconductormaterial,metalliccontacts,andinterconnections.
ShallowCycleBattery:Abatterywithsmallplatesthatcannotwithstandmanydischargestoalowstateofcharge.
ShelfLifeofBatteries:Thelengthoftime,underspecifiedconditions,thatabatterycanbestoredsothatitkeeps
itsguaranteedcapacity.
ShortCircuitCurrent(Isc):Thecurrentflowingfreelythroughanexternalcircuitthathasnoloadorresistancethe
maximumcurrentpossible.
ShuntController:Achargecontrollerthatredirectsorshuntsthechargingcurrentawayfromthebattery.The
controllerrequiresalargeheatsinktodissipatethecurrentfromtheshortcircuitedphotovoltaicarray.Mostshunt
controllersareforsmallersystemsproducing30amperesorless.
ShuntRegulator:Typeofabatterychargeregulatorwherethechargingcurrentiscontrolledbyaswitchconnected
inparallelwiththephotovoltaic(PV)generator.ShortingthePVgeneratorpreventsoverchargingofthebattery.
SiemensProcess:Acommercialmethodofmakingpurifiedsilicon.
Silicon:Asemimetallicchemicalelementthatmakesanexcellentsemiconductormaterialforphotovoltaicdevices.
Itcrystallizesinfacecenteredcubiclatticelikeadiamond.It'scommonlyfoundinsandandquartz(astheoxide).
SineWave:Awaveformcorrespondingtoasinglefrequencyperiodicoscillationthatcanbemathematically
representedasafunctionofamplitudeversusangleinwhichthevalueofthecurveatanypointisequaltothesine
ofthatangle.

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SineWaveInverter:Aninverterthatproducesutilityquality,sinewavepowerforms.
SingleCrystal:Amaterialthatiscomposedofasinglecrystalorafewlargecrystals.
SingleCrystalSilicon:Materialwithasinglecrystallineformation.Manyphotovoltaiccellsaremadefromsingle
crystalsilicon.
SingleStageController:Achargecontrollerthatredirectsallchargingcurrentasthebatterynearsfullstateof
charge.
SmartGrid:Anelectricitydistributionnetworkthatdeliverselectricalpowerfromsupplierstoconsumersusingdigital
technologywithtwowaycommunicationstocontrolappliancesatconsumers'homestosaveenergy,reducecost
andincreasereliabilityandtransparency.Itoverlaystheelectricitydistributiongridwithaninformationandnet
meteringsystem.
SolarConstant:Theaverageamountofsolarradiationthatreachestheearth'supperatmosphereonasurface
perpendiculartothesun'sraysequalto1353Wattspersquaremeteror492Btupersquarefoot.
SolarCooling:Theuseofsolarthermalenergyorsolarelectricitytopoweracoolingappliance.Photovoltaic
systemscanpowerevaporativecoolers("swamp"coolers),heatpumps,andairconditioners.
SolarEnergy:Electromagneticenergytransmittedfromthesun(solarradiation).Theamountthatreachestheearth
isequaltoonebillionthoftotalsolarenergygenerated,ortheequivalentofabout420trillionkilowatthours.
SolarGradeSilicon:Intermediategradesiliconusedinthemanufactureofsolarcells.Lessexpensivethan
electronicgradesilicon.
SolarNoon:Thetimeoftheday,ataspecificlocation,whenthesunreachesitshighest,apparentpointinthesky
equaltotrueordue,geographicsouth.
SolarPanel:Seephotovoltaic(PV)panel.
SolarResource:Theamountofsolarinsolationasitereceives,usuallymeasuredinkWh/m2/day,whichis
equivalenttothenumberofpeaksunhours.
SolarSpectrum:Thetotaldistributionofelectromagneticradiationemanatingfromthesun.Thedifferentregionsof
thesolarspectrumaredescribedbytheirwavelengthrange.Thevisibleregionextendsfromabout390to780
nanometers(ananometerisonebillionthofonemeter).About99percentofsolarradiationiscontainedina
wavelengthregionfrom300nm(ultraviolet)to3,000nm(nearinfrared).Thecombinedradiationinthewavelength
regionfrom280nmto4,000nmiscalledthebroadband,ortotal,solarradiation.
SolarThermalElectricSystems:Solarenergyconversiontechnologiesthatconvertsolarenergytoelectricity,by
heatingaworkingfluidtopoweraturbinethatdrivesagenerator.Examplesofthesesystemsincludecentral
receiversystems,parabolicdish,andparabolictrough.Alsoseeconcentratingsolarpower.
SpinningReserve:Electricpowerplantorutilitycapacityonlineandrunningatlowpowerinexcessofactualload.
SplitSpectrum:Acompoundphotovoltaicdeviceinwhichsunlightisfirstdividedintospectralregionsbyoptical
means.Eachregionisthendirectedtoadifferentphotovoltaiccelloptimizedforconvertingthatportionofthe
spectrumintoelectricity.Suchadeviceachievessignificantlygreateroverallconversionofincidentsunlightinto
electricity.Seemulitjunctiondevice.
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Sputtering:Aprocessusedtoapplyphotovoltaicsemiconductormaterialtoasubstratebyaphysicalvapor
depositionprocesswherehighenergyionsareusedtobombardelementalsourcesofsemiconductormaterial,
whichejectvaporsofatomsthatarethendepositedinthinlayersonasubstrate.
SquareWave:Awaveformthathasonlytwostates,(i.e.,positiveornegative).Asquarewavecontainsalarge
numberofharmonics.
SquareWaveInverter:Atypeofinverterthatproducessquarewaveoutput.Itconsistsofadirectcurrentsource,
fourswitches,andtheload.Theswitchesarepowersemiconductorsthatcancarryalargecurrentandwithstanda
highvoltagerating.Theswitchesareturnedonandoffatacorrectsequence,atacertainfrequency.
StaeblerWronskiEffect:Thetendencyofthesunlighttoelectricityconversionefficiencyofamorphoussilicon
photovoltaicdevicestodegrade(drop)uponinitialexposuretolight.
StandAloneSystem:Anautonomousorhybridphotovoltaicsystemnotconnectedtoagrid.Mayormaynothave
storage,butmoststandalonesystemsrequirebatteriesorsomeotherformofstorage.
StandOffMounting:Techniqueformountingaphotovoltaicarrayonaslopedroof,whichinvolvesmountingthe
modulesashortdistanceabovethepitchedroofandtiltingthemtotheoptimumangle.
StandardReportingConditions(SRC):Afixedsetofconditions(includingmeteorological)towhichtheelectrical
performancedataofaphotovoltaicmodulearetranslatedfromthesetofactualtestconditions.
STC:Conditionsunderwhichamoduleistypicallytestedinalaboratory.
StandbyCurrent:Thisistheamountofcurrent(power)usedbytheinverterwhennoloadisactive(lostpower).
Theefficiencyoftheinverterislowestwhentheloaddemandislow.
StarvedElectrolyteCell:Abatterycontaininglittleornofreefluidelectrolyte.
StateOfCharge:Theavailablecapacityremaininginthebattery,expressedasapercentageoftheratedcapacity.
StirlingEngine:Aheatenginethatoperatesbycycliccompressionandexpansionofairorothergasatdifferent
temperaturelevels,resultinginanetconversionofheatenergytomechanicalwork.
StorageBattery:Adevicecapableoftransformingenergyfromelectrictochemicalformandviceversa.The
reactionsarealmostcompletelyreversible.Duringdischarge,chemicalenergyisconvertedtoelectricenergyandis
consumedinanexternalcircuitorapparatus.
Stratification:Aconditionthatoccurswhentheacidconcentrationvariesfromtoptobottominthebattery
electrolyte.Periodic,controlledchargingatvoltagesthatproducegassingwillmixtheelectrolyte.Seeequalization.
String:Anumberofphotovoltaicmodulesorpanelsinterconnectedelectricallyinseriestoproducetheoperating
voltagerequiredbytheload.
Substrate:Thephysicalmaterialuponwhichaphotovoltaiccellisapplied.
Subsystem:Anyoneofseveralcomponentsinaphotovoltaicsystem(i.e.,array,controller,batteries,inverter,load).
Sulfation:Aconditionthatafflictsunusedanddischargedbatterieslargecrystalsofleadsulfategrowontheplate,
insteadoftheusualtinycrystals,makingthebatteryextremelydifficulttorecharge.
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SuperconductingMagneticEnergyStorage(SMES):SMEStechnologyusesthesuperconductingcharacteristics
oflowtemperaturematerialstoproduceintensemagneticfieldstostoreenergy.Ithasbeenproposedasastorage
optiontosupportlargescaleuseofphotovoltaicsasameanstosmoothoutfluctuationsinpowergeneration.
Superconductivity:Theabruptandlargeincreaseinelectricalconductivityexhibitedbysomemetalsasthe
temperatureapproachesabsolutezero.
Superstrate:Thecoveringonthesunnysideofaphotovoltaic(PV)module,providingprotectionforthePVmaterials
fromimpactandenvironmentaldegradationwhileallowingmaximumtransmissionoftheappropriatewavelengthsof
thesolarspectrum.
SurgeCapacity:Themaximumpower,usually35timestheratedpower,thatcanbeprovidedoverashorttime.
SystemAvailability:Thepercentageoftime(usuallyexpressedinhoursperyear)whenaphotovoltaicsystemwill
beabletofullymeettheloaddemand.
SystemOperatingVoltage:Thephotovoltaicarrayoutputvoltageunderload.Thesystemoperatingvoltageis
dependentontheloadorbatteriesconnectedtotheoutputterminals.
SystemStorage:Seebatterycapacity.

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T
TaktTime:CommonlyusedinLeanManufacturing,anadjustabletimeunitusedtosynchronizetherateof
productionwiththerateofdemand.Computedbydividingavailableproductionbythenumberofitemstobe
produced,takttimeprovidesapreciserhythmfortheentireprocesssequencethatmaximizesefficiencywhile
minimizingwastes.AlthoughpopularizedbyJapanesebasedLeanManufacturing,takttimeisaGermantermthat
referstorhythmorbeatofmusic.
TareLoss:Losscausedbyachargecontroller.Oneminustareloss,expressedasapercentage,isequaltothe
controllerefficiency.
TemperatureCompensation:Acircuitthatadjuststhechargecontrolleractivationpointsdependingonbattery
temperature.Thisfeatureisrecommendedifthebatterytemperatureisexpectedtovarymorethan5Cfrom
ambienttemperature.
TemperatureFactors:Itiscommonforthreeelementsinphotovoltaicsystemsizingtohavedistincttemperature
corrections:afactorusedtodecreasebatterycapacityatcoldtemperaturesafactorusedtodecreasePVmodule
voltageathightemperaturesandafactorusedtodecreasethecurrentcarryingcapabilityofwireathigh
temperatures.
ThermophotovoltaicCell(TPV):Adevicewheresunlightconcentratedontoaabsorberheatsittoahigh
temperature,andthethermalradiationemittedbytheabsorberisusedastheenergysourceforaphotovoltaiccell
thatisdesignedtomaximizeconversionefficiencyatthewavelengthofthethermalradiation.
ThickCrystallineMaterials:Semiconductormaterial,typicallymeasuringfrom200400micronsthick,thatiscut
fromingotsorribbons.
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ThinFilm:Alayerofsemiconductormaterial,suchascopperindiumdiselenideorgalliumarsenide,afewmicrons
orlessinthickness,usedtomakephotovoltaiccells.
ThinFilmPhotovoltaicModule:Aphotovoltaicmoduleconstructedwithsequentiallayersofthinfilm
semiconductormaterials.Seeamorphoussilicon.
TiltAngle:Theangleatwhichaphotovoltaicarrayissettofacethesunrelativetoahorizontalposition.Thetilt
anglecanbesetoradjustedtomaximizeseasonalorannualenergycollection.
TinOxide:Awidebandgapsemiconductorsimilartoindiumoxideusedinheterojunctionsolarcellsortomakea
transparentconductivefilm,calledNESAglasswhendepositedonglass.
TotalACLoadDemand:Thesumofthealternatingcurrentloads.Thisvalueisimportantwhenselectingan
inverter.
TotalHarmonicDistortion:Themeasureofclosenessinshapebetweenawaveformandit'sfundamental
component.
TotalInternalReflection:Thetrappingoflightbyrefractionandreflectionatcriticalanglesinsideasemiconductor
devicesothatitcannotescapethedeviceandmustbeeventuallyabsorbedbythesemiconductor.
TrackingArray:Aphotovoltaic(PV)arraythatfollowsthepathofthesuntomaximizethesolarradiationincidenton
thePVsurface.Thetwomostcommonorientationsare(1)oneaxiswherethearraytracksthesuneasttowestand
(2)twoaxistrackingwherethearraypointsdirectlyatthesunatalltimes.Trackingarraysuseboththedirectand
diffusesunlight.Twoaxistrackingarrayscapturethemaximumpossibledailyenergy.
Transformer:Anelectromagneticdevicethatchangesthevoltageofalternatingcurrentelectricity.
TrayCable(TC)maybeusedforinterconnectingbalanceofsystems.
TrickleCharge:Achargeatalowrate,balancingthroughselfdischargelosses,tomaintainacellorbatteryina
fullychargedcondition.
TwoAxisTracking:Aphotovoltaicarraytrackingsystemcapableofrotatingindependentlyabouttwoaxes(e.g.,
verticalandhorizontal).
Tunneling:Quantummechanicalconceptwherebyanelectronisfoundontheoppositesideofaninsulatingbarrier
withouthavingpassedthroughoraroundthebarrier.

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U
Ultraviolet:Electromagneticradiationinthewavelengthrangeof4to400nanometers.
UndergroundFeeder(UF):Maybeusedforphotovoltaicarraywiringifsunlightresistantcoatingisspecifiedcan
beusedforinterconnectingbalanceofsystemcomponentsbutnotrecommendedforusewithinbatteryenclosures.

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UndergroundServiceEntrance(USE):Maybeusedwithinbatteryenclosuresandforinterconnectingbalanceof
systems.
UninterruptiblePowerSupply(UPS):Thedesignationofapowersupplyprovidingcontinuousuninterruptible
service.TheUPSwillcontainbatteries.
UtilityInteractiveInverter:Aninverterthatcanfunctiononlywhentiedtotheutilitygrid,andusestheprevailing
linevoltagefrequencyontheutilitylineasacontrolparametertoensurethatthephotovoltaicsystem'soutputisfully
synchronizedwiththeutilitypower.

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V
VacuumEvaporation:Thedepositionofthinfilmsofsemiconductormaterialbytheevaporationofelemental
sourcesinavacuum.
VacuumZero:Theenergyofanelectronatrestinemptyspaceusedasareferencelevelinenergyband
diagrams.
ValenceBand:Thehighestenergybandinasemiconductorthatcanbefilledwithelectrons.
ValenceLevelEnergy/ValenceState:Energycontentofanelectroninorbitaboutanatomicnucleus.Alsocalled
boundstate.
Varistor:Avoltagedependentvariableresistor.Normallyusedtoprotectsensitiveequipmentfrompowerspikesor
lightningstrikesbyshuntingtheenergytoground.
VentedCell:Abatterydesignedwithaventmechanismtoexpelgasesgeneratedduringcharging.
VerticalMultijunction(VMJ)Cell:Acompoundcellmadeofdifferentsemiconductormaterialsinlayers,oneabove
theother.Sunlightenteringthetoppassesthroughsuccessivecellbarriers,eachofwhichconvertsaseparate
portionofthespectrumintoelectricity,thusachievinggreatertotalconversionefficiencyoftheincidentlight.Also
calledamultiplejunctioncell.Seemultijunctiondeviceandsplitspectrumcell.
VirtualPowerPlant(VPP):Combinesanarrayofrooftopphotovoltaic(PV)systemswithlocalizedenergystorage
andaggregateddemandresponse(DR)capacity,whichprovidesautilitythecapacitytomeetitspeakneeds,
withoutapowerplant.
Volt:Aunitofelectricalforceequaltothatamountofelectromotiveforcethatwillcauseasteadycurrentofone
amperetoflowthrougharesistanceofoneohm.
Voltage:Theamountofelectromotiveforce,measuredinvolts,thatexistsbetweentwopoints.
VoltageatMaximumPower(Vmp):Thevoltageatwhichmaximumpowerisavailablefromaphotovoltaicmodule.
VoltageProtection:Manyinvertershavesensingcircuitsthatwilldisconnecttheunitfromthebatteryifinputvoltage
limitsareexceeded.

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VoltageRegulation:Thisindicatesthevariabilityintheoutputvoltage.Someloadswillnottoleratevoltage
variationsgreaterthanafewpercent.

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W
Wafer:Athinsheetofsemiconductor(photovoltaicmaterial)madebycuttingitfromasinglecrystaloringot.
Watt:Therateofenergytransferequivalenttooneampereunderanelectricalpressureofonevolt.Onewattequals
1/746horsepower,oronejoulepersecond.Itistheproductofvoltageandcurrent(amperage).
Waveform:Theshapeofthephasepoweratacertainfrequencyandamplitude.
WetShelfLife:Theperiodoftimethatachargedbattery,whenfilledwithelectrolyte,canremainunusedbefore
droppingbelowaspecifiedlevelofperformance.
Window:Awidebandgapmaterialchosenforitstransparencytolight.Generallyusedasthetoplayerofa
photovoltaicdevice,thewindowallowsalmostallofthelighttoreachthesemiconductorlayersbeneath.
WorkFunction:TheenergydifferencebetweentheFermilevelandvacuumzero.Theminimumamountofenergy
ittakestoremoveanelectronfromasubstanceintothevacuum.

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Z
ZenithAngle:theanglebetweenthedirectionofinterest(ofthesun,forexample)andthezenith(directly
overhead).

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