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Photovoltaics: A Diverse Technology

Jamie Kurtz, U.S. Department of Energy/Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

This video reviews how photovoltaic (PV) cells work, noting that technological innovations are decreasing costs and allowing PV use to expand.

Video length: 4:26 min.

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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Use video to help students understand the science engineering and technology behind Photovoltaic (PV) energy generation.
  • The teacher should spend a bit of time discussing the concepts of band gap, electron hole pair, semiconductor materials, electromagnetic spectrum, and efficiency.

About the Science

  • Innovations, from using materials that lower manufacturing costs to expanding application and use, are driving the photovoltaic (PV) industry forward.
  • A brief PV history demonstrates the materials innovation and evolution from high cost silicon to less expensive multi-silicon and thin film.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The information is in the activity is strong and is not likely to be dated in the near future. The video provides a good overview of photovoltaics, but also delves into more scientific detail than similar programs.

About the Pedagogy

  • This video demonstrates how science, technology, and engineering are working together to innovate PV electricity generation.
  • Good resource for student research especially in conjunction with the other resources at https://www.eeremultimedia.energy.gov/solar/

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Excellent video and audio quality.
  • The video is closed captioned.

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