A solar cell, also called photovoltaic (PV) cell or photoelectric (PE) cell, is a solid state electrical device that converts the energy of light directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect.
Assemblies of solar cells are used to make solar modules which are used to capture energy from sunlight. When multiple modules are assembled together (such as prior to installation on a pole-mounted tracker system), the resulting integrated group of modules all oriented in one plane is referred to in the solar industry as a solar panel. The electrical energy generated from solar modules, referred to as solar power, is an example of solar energy.
Photovoltaics is the field of technology and research related to the practical application of photovoltaic cells in producing electricity from light, though it is often used specifically to refer to the generation of electricity from sunlight.
Cells are described as photovoltaic cells when the light source is not necessarily sunlight (lamplight, artificial light, etc.). These are used for detecting light or other electromagnetic radiation near the visible range, for example infrared detectors, or measurement of light intensity.