Photovoltaic (PV) solar cells convert sunlight into electricity and are typically made of single or multi crystal silicon slabs that are less than 1 mm thick. PVs are also made from thin film semiconductor materials that are less than 10 µm thick. Silicon currently dominates the PV market as it provides good performance at a reasonable price; converting 10 to 20% of the incident sunlight into electricity at cost of a few dollars per watt. PV modules contain about 40 individual solar cells and PV arrays contain about 10 modules. Silicon PV modules generate electricity over a 20 to 30 year lifespan, producing about 10 times more energy than is used to manufacture and install them, making then one of the most attractive, clean, and sustainable energy sources available.

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