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What are Solar Panels made of?

Posted on March 20, 2019 by Team iSolarWorld

one of the most common forms of renewable technology- solar panels work by converting the sun’s energy into electricity. The PV cells are originally sandwiched between semi-conducting materials, which are silicon but can also be glass or polymer resin. To create electric fields, they are constructed with a positive layer and a negative layer. Generating energy depends on the deployment of panels.

Crystalline Silicon Solar Panels

The most common solar panel material is crystalline silicon or c-Si. It looks like blue or black rectangular grids of smaller squares and these silicon solar cells link together in a series to form a circuit.

More commonly, crystalline panels are grouped in 60-cell and 72-cell panels. Often smaller panels are also used in the off-grid market. Usually by busbars, these series of cells are connected together. typically made of aluminum or copper with silver, busbar ribbons wire solar cells together to create higher voltages. the electrons generation depends on how the busbars cross a solar cell; thus the power and efficiency of the solar panel also increases.

Originally, there are two types of crystalline silicon designs available:

  • monocrystalline
  • polycrystalline

made by growing a single crystal, Monocrystalline silicon solar are usually oval shapes, and are cut into the distinctive patterns that give them their recognizable appearance. The sliced silicon cells expose the missing corners in the grid-like structure. giving it the best purity and highest efficiency levels, the crystal framework in a monocrystalline is even, producing a steady blue color and zero grain marks.

made by pouring molten silicon into a cast, Polycrystalline solar’s structure will form imperfectly, creating boundaries where the crystal formation breaks. Due to these impurities in the crystal, polycrystalline modules are less efficient and also cheaper than monocrystalline.

Thin-Film Solar Panels

more traditionally, thin-film panels are used in large utility-scale installations. A thin semiconductor is deposited on glass, plastic or metal foil substrates. By its name, these panels can be very thin and sometimes flexible also. Due to its light weight and flexibility, this has led to its use on curved roofs, automobiles and other unique installations.

The common thin-film divisions are: 

  • amorphous silicon(a-Si)
  • cadmium telluride(CdTe)
  • copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS)

Often thin-film solar cells are created through a co-evaporation process of chemicals on a glass sheet. They also have lower conversion efficiencies than silicon.

The common parts of a solar panel are:

  • Silicon solar cells
  • Metal frame (typically aluminum)
  • Glass sheet for casing
  • Standard 12V Wire
  • Bus wire
  • Plexiglas

Assembly of Module

with a glass layer on front and a protective backsheet on the rear, all the solar panels consist of solar cells. These cells are made from a type of polymer; backsheets adhere to the backside of modules to provide electrical insulation. although more black backsheets are being used on high-efficiency modules looking for a certain aesthetic, the most common backsheets are white.

To finish the module, aluminium frames are used and they add strength to the panel and protect the edge of the glass. to secure it to the roof or ground, the frame helps racking and mounting systems attach to the panel.

However, the entire process is changing with the invention of new bifacial designs. Backsheets are no longer needed when solar cells are exposed on both the front and back sides of the panel.

Reach out to us at info@iSolarWorld.com for any queries.