are photovoltaic cells and solar panels the same? if not, or yes, what are their differences?
B_H is correct. The cell typically produces a small voltage of approximately 0.7V, although it can provide many 100’s of mA in full sunlight. A panel is made up of many cells connected in series and in parallel to enable higher voltages and currents. A panel also includes protection for the cells in the form of glass or plastic so that rain, snow, dust, etc do not damage the individual cells. Cells typically are unprotected and made of silicon in very thin wafers that are easily cracked or broken when stress is placed on them…panels beef up the mechanical protection so that they can be mounted on rooftops. There is a newer film technology cell that can be rolled up…see the link below on this as it is interesting.