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Solar Panels Are Made Using a Variety of Materials and Cell Types

Ashleigh AngellSeptember 19, 20184360

Solar Panels Are Made Using a Variety of Materials and Cell Types

Interested in solar panels, but still wondering the ins and outs of how they’re made? Curious about how it’s possible to make green energy so cheaply? Keep reading to learn exactly how they’re made and all of the materials that go into producing this green, efficient technology.

The Process of Making a Solar Panel

The most important ingredient in the production of a solar panel are the silicon cells. These cells are a nonmetal that have conductive properties. The conductive nature of silicon cells are what allows them to convert sunlight into the energy we use to power our homes. When sunlight hits these cells, it knocks electrons free from their atoms, which then generates a flow of electricity. This is called the photovoltaic effect.

There are also multiple types of silicon that can be chosen from, each containing a different cell structure. The first is monocrystalline, which is one big silicon block. Wafers of silicon are cut individually and then affixed onto the panel. These cells are more efficient than the other two we will be discussing, but making them requires much more difficult labor, making them also more expensive. The second type is polycrystalline, which are made by melting together multiple silicon crystals. These crystals are refused into the actual panel. They are not as efficient as monocrystalline, but, as suggested earlier, are also less expensive. The last type is amorphous silicon. These cells are able to create a more flexible solar panel and are therefore most often worked into thinner panels. Unlike the other types, these aren’t crystalline, and are directly attached to glass, plastic, or metal substrate. This allows them to be bendable and thin. They are great for how easily they adapt to any kind of surface, but they are also the inefficient type.

Other Materials Used to Make a Solar Panel

Aside from the cells themselves, a solar panel also consists of several other components. The most common are of course the silicon cells, metal, glass, wire, and plexiglas. The cells, as we discussed, are used for the transmission of the electricity. The metal is used as a frame around the panel. The glass is used as a casing. Not only does the casing keep everything inside the panel, but it also is used to insulate it. This insulation is necessary in order to keep up efficiency - if the temperature gets too high and there isn’t appropriate insulation, this will result in a lower output. Doing this would mean a risk of the panel overheating, as well as not getting as much energy use as you should be.

How to Use These Ingredients When Investing in Solar Energy

When investing your money into solar energy, it’s vital to make the right choices when deciding which kinds of energy are right for you. Choosing the right silicon cells, for instance, could make all the difference between investing in a solar panel that suits your situation and one that doesn’t. For example, if you’re looking for the most efficient silicon cells, and money isn’t the main factor in mind when deciding which panel is right for you, then the monocrystalline cells would be the right choice. But if you’re on a budget and need to go with a less expensive option, polycrystalline would be your best bet.

Want to do more research into solar energy and how to choose which equipment is right for you? Check out the HahaSmart blog for all the tips and tricks you need for your solar lifestyle.

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