A solar cell (or a “photovoltaic” cell) is a device that converts photons from the sun (solar light) into electricity.
In general, a solar cell that includes both solar and nonsolar sources of light (such as photons from incandescent bulbs) is termed a photovoltaic cell.
Fundamentally, the device needs to fulfill only two functions: photogeneration of charge carriers (electrons and holes) in a light-absorbing material, and separation of the charge carriers to a conductive contact that will transmit the electricity. This conversion is called the photovoltaic effect, and the field of research related to solar cells is known as photovoltaics. Solar cells have many applications.