Photovoltaic Conversion Efficiency Terms +

(solar electricity technical terms applying to electricity, power generation, concentrating solar power, or CSP, solar heating, solar lighting, and solar electricity)

thin film photovoltaic module
A photovoltaic module constructed with sequential layers of thin film semiconductor materials.
tilt angle
The angle at which a photovoltaic array is set to face the sun relative to a horizontal position.

The tilt angle can be set or adjusted to maximize seasonal or annual energy collection.

tin oxide
A wide band-gap semiconductor similar to indium oxide; used in heterojunction solar cells or to make a transparent conductive film, called NESA glass when deposited on glass.
total AC load demand
The sum of the alternating current loads.

This value is important when selecting an inverter.

total harmonic distortion
The measure of closeness in shape between a waveform and it's fundamental component.
total internal reflection
The trapping of light by refraction and reflection at critical angles inside a semiconductor device so that it cannot escape the device and must be eventually absorbed by the semiconductor.
tracking array
A photovoltaic array that follows the path of the sun to maximize the solar radiation incident on the photovoltaic surface.

The two most common orientations are

  1. One axis where the array tracks the sun east to west.
  2. Two-axis tracking where the array points directly at the sun at all times.

Tracking arrays use both the direct and diffuse sunlight. Two-axis tracking arrays capture the maximum possible daily energy.

An electromagnetic device that changes the voltage of alternating current electricity.
tray cable
A cable which may be used for interconnecting a balance-of-systems.
trickle charge
A charge at a low rate, balancing through self-discharge losses, to maintain a cell or battery in a fully charged condition.
Quantum mechanical concept whereby an electron is found on the opposite side of an insulating barrier without having passed through or around the barrier.
two-axis tracking
A photovoltaic array tracking system capable of rotating independently about two axes; for example, vertical and horizontal.
Electromagnetic radiation in the wavelength range of four to four hundred nanometers.
underground feeder
May be used for photovoltaic array wiring if sunlight resistant coating is specified; can be used for interconnecting balance-of-system components but not recommended for use within battery enclosures.
underground service entrance
May be used within battery enclosures and for interconnecting balance-of-systems.
The information for the entries in this unit were compiled primarily from data
provided in the following source:

"U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy"
consisting of definitions of many important terms having to do with electricity,
power generation, concentrating solar power (CSP), solar heating, solar lighting,
and solar electricity, also known as photovoltaic (PV).

Information was also compiled from the

Academic Press Dictionary of Science and Technology; Edited by Christopher Morris;
Academic Press; Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers; New York; 1992;
as well as,
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, 4th edition;
Sybil P. Parker, editor in chief; McGraw-Hill, Inc.; 1989.

Index of additional Scientific and Technological Topics.