Cells made of single-crystal silicon, the same material used for microelectronics chips, supply more current than the other types of silicon. Unlike amorphous silicon, the voltage stays fairly constant when different loads are applied. Single-crystal silicon photovoltaic cells that are protected from oxidizing last about 20 years.
Polycrystalline silicon is not uniform enough to make electronic chips, but works well for photovoltaic cells. It can be grown with less stringent control than single-crystal silicon but works nearly as efficiently.
See also Alternative energy sources.
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Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind - Early Ideas to Planck lengthPhotovoltaic Cell - How They Work, Applications, Solar-electric Homes, Materials, Amorphous Silicon, Crystalline Silicon