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Terms for Green Architecture, Building & Energy

This glossary includes more than 300 solar terms, as well as hundreds of additional sustainable design and construction terms.

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Photovoltaic (PV) Effect

Definition: The phenomenon that occurs when photons, the "particles" in a beam of light, knock electrons loose from the atoms they strike. When this property of light is combined with the properties of semiconductors, electrons flow in one direction across a junction, setting up a voltage. With the addition of circuitry, current will flow and electric power will be available.