Have you ever wondered what solar panels are made of? How do you make a solar panel or how do you build a solar panel? All of these questions come to mind when you use a solar panel yourself.
Solar panels are a game changer for masking the looming energy crisis. It is an advanced technology that has grown rapidly over the last few years. On one hand, solar panels are a change and a massive advancement in technology, and on the other hand, they are the only possibility to overcome the energy crisis.
The energy crisis is increasing day by day. Life without energy nowadays is almost impossible. In these circumstances, energy sources like solar cells are the light for sore eyes. The construction of solar panels is very benign and hasn’t been changed. Although companies are doing great to manufacture the best panels that provide clean and renewable energy.
There are certain types of materials that are used in solar cell construction. The majority of solar panels are made using Silicon Crystalline cells. These silicon crystalline cells are presented in a sandwich type of shape, which comprises a front glass and a rear polymer plastic back sheet. Afterward, they use an aluminum frame to protect and support the glass.
While the demand for solar cells continues to gain popularity in residential and commercial usage, Most of the new owners, as well as the old, ask questions about solar panels and how they can be more efficient. Moreover, maintaining a solar panel is not that hard, but keeping it in a good environment will give you such high-end results. Most people wonder how a single panel can maintain such high efficiency and that the source of its energy is only the sun. The solar panel construction is at the bottom of these questions.
What are solar panels or cells?
Solar panels are sometimes also called photovoltaic cells. These cells are highly efficient in converting light energy into electrical energy through the photovoltaic effect. The silicon cells used in the cells perform conversion efficiencies.
The best thing about solar panels is that they don’t use chemical reactions like batteries or require any fuel. In fact, solar cells are stable glass that is situated in a stable place wide open to the sun’s light. These panels are then connected to the inverter and batteries to convert direct current to alternate current to charge the batteries.
It takes energy from the sunlight, which converts 20% of the sunlight into electricity. While the more expensive and commercial system converts 40% of the sunlight into electricity. As it is advancing rapidly, the conversion rate is expected to be on the rise as well.
Solar panels are an extreme tech invention. Most of the sellers don’t give you complete information about solar panels. Today we will break the solar panel down to understand how solar panels are made and what solar panels are used for.
How does solar panel construction work?
The construction of solar panels requires some deep engineering to perfectly maintain everything. Once a solar panel is made, it works for a minimum of 25 years. Some factors put extreme stress on solar cells, which include temperature, humidity, wind, and UV radiation. Although these factors are unlikely to be a problem for advanced solar cells, Well engineered solar panels can survive any of those factors. However, some cells fail due to water ingress or glass fractures. That is why using high-quality materials in the construction of solar panels matters the most.
Getting an idea of how solar panels are made is very useful. When you know about the manufacturing and construction processes of solar panels, you will have more wisdom in making a decision for your solar system. So let’s jump into the very rare but important question, how solar panels are made.
How solar panels are made?
The photovoltaic cells perform the photovoltaic effect, in which energy is absorbed from sunlight and then converted to solar energy. The construction of a PV cell is what matters the most in a whole solar panel. If the process of making a PV cell goes well, the whole solar panel construction will be a masterpiece.
PV cells are made up of silicon crystalline wafers. These are the exact same wafers that are used in computer and laptop processors. These crystalline wafers can sometimes be polycrystalline and sometimes monocrystalline. Each of these materials uses different manufacturing methods. The most useful and effective type is monocrystalline. Czochralski is the process that takes place to manufacture monocrystalline PV cells. Even though they are more expensive than polycrystalline.
Both of these Crestline cells are crucial in solar panel construction. In fact, they are the only effective way to construct a solar panel that has high efficiency. When the crystalline cells used in the process are efficient, alternatively, higher efficiency will be the solar panel and you will get its maximum output.
The Difference between Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline
Both of these cells are known for their energy efficiency. In fact, the making process of both of these cells requires growing crystals. However, in the case of monocrystalline cells, it comes with a cost. The process of making monocrystalline is way more expensive than making polycrystalline.
In the case of polycrystalline cells, they are easy to make, less expensive, and give you a better solar panel. This cell involves a purification process. The overall procedure of polycrystalline is easy and costless, but the efficiency of polycrystalline is not better than that of monocrystalline. This is the reason why most solar panels at the domestic level use polycrystalline cells while monocrystalline cells are used at the commercial level.
Now there is another level in which you don’t have to use polycrystalline and monocrystalline but you will meet in the middle. In a single solar panel, you can use both of these cells. Each monocrystalline cell has a subsection. These subsections are the cast cells made up by the casting process. So instead of cast cells, you can use polycrystalline cells. You will have low-cost solar panel construction and higher efficiency this way.
In simple words,
At first, the monocrystalline cells are made using the crystal-growing procedure. This procedure requires constant work for a better end result. The procedure of monocrystalline is expensive, but it has the highest efficiency.
● It has the highest energy efficiency as compared to any other solar cell.
● Mono cells require the least amount of space.
● It has a longer lifespan and can work in the same manner for the longest period.
● They are very expensive.
Cast monocrystalline cells are manufactured using the casting process. It is the least expensive process compared to pure monocrystalline. Moreover, they are costless and can produce high efficiency.
● Cast cells are efficient.
● The making process is less expensive than the purified monocrystalline cells.
● It has a longer lifespan.
● Some factors can affect its efficiency, like temperature and humidity.
Polycrystalline cells are made using the purification process. They are very easy and inexpensive to make, but the overall cell efficiency in a solar panel is low.
● The process involved is completely costless.
● It has a simple manufacturing process.
● It has a lower heat tolerance.
● primarily for domestic purposes
● It takes up a lot of space
Polycrystalline Solar Cell Manufacturing:
The manufacturing of a solar cell comprises a diverse process. The following are the steps involved in the process.
● The first step is collecting the raw material for solar cells called quartzite, which is an essential sandstone rock. It is also called silica sand.
● The silica sand is then converted into metallurgical-grade silicon. For this process, they combine carbon and quartzite in an arc furnace.
● A high temperature is given to this process, which gives 99% pure silicon.
● In the next process of metallurgical grade, silicon is converted into pure polysilicon through the siemens process. Sometimes they perform metallurgical processes that are less expensive.
● Afterward, the polysilicon is then sedated in boron or phosphorus to get either the P-type or the N-type silicon.
● When the process is done, the polycrystalline silicon is melted and reshaped into large rectangular blocks. This is done through the process of diamond wire cutting. Afterward, the polycrystalline wafers are produced.
When the manufacturing process is complete, the solar cell is ready to use. Connect the proper wiring and make sure to attach an alternator that will convert its direct current to an alternate current and pass it on to the batteries.
The Manufacturing of Monocrystalline Solar Cells:
The manufacturing process of monocrystalline solar cells is much more expensive and harder than that of polycrystalline. For more efficient monocrystalline cells, the process of Czochralski takes place. The process involves the melting of polycrystalline silicon under high pressure and temperature. After the process, it will forge a large single monocrystalline crystal known as the ingot.
The following are the steps involved in the manufacturing of monocrystalline solar cells.
● The first step is to collect the raw material called silica sand.
● Afterward, the silica sand is purified in an arc furnace to create 99% pure silicon.
● In monocrystalline, further refinement takes place where they get almost 100% pure silicon.
● Once again, they dope the given silicon into the boron and phosphorus to get the P-type and N-type.
● The silicon that was doped is extracted into the crystalline ingot.
● They use the diamond wire cutter to cut the ingot into a thin square wafer.
● Afterward, the thin base wafer is then coated with another ultra-thin layer that may be the P-type or N-type. In this way, the PN-junction is formed.
● Last, an anti-reflective layer is added and the metallic fingers are included on the cell surface. Other things that are added include flat ribbon busbars or sometimes thin wire busbars are added.
How solar panels are made:
Using these above methods to create the cells for panels Once it is completed, it’s time to make a solar panel.
Some components are required to construct solar panels. If you have your solar cells, then you have completed half of your work.
The important components that are required to construct a solar panel are the following:
● The toughest glass you can find will be 3 to 3.5mm thick.
● The aluminum frame that is extruded
● EVA film layer.
● Solar Photovoltaic Cells
● A junction box that includes diodes and connectors
Solar PV cells
Solar PV cells play a crucial role in the solar panel. It converts the sunlight into DC current. The performance and overall quality mostly depend on the cell type that is used in the solar panel. If you are using a monocrystalline cell, then you sure have the best quality that will give you extra efficiency.
Glass is mostly used to protect the PV cell. It protects the cells from weather impacts like hail and airborne debris. The glass should be 3.0mm to 4.9mm thick. In this way, the glass will be capable of bearing extreme temperatures. To find the best glass you can so that the PV cell remains protected.
An aluminum frame protects the edges of the glass and cell, and it provides a firm structure to keep the panel in position. These frames help the panel to stay stable.
Ethylene Vinyl Acetate is another useful component in the making of solar panels. It holds the cells in position during the manufacturing process. The EVA material should be durable because otherwise, it will not hold the cell in one position.
The black sheet prevents any moisture from coming inside the panel. Moreover, it provides mechanical protection and electrical insulation. It is a very important part of the solar panel to protect the external solar panels.
Connectors and junction boxes:
The Junction box is a box of connectors that is waterproof and located on the rear side of the panel. It is used to attach the cables that connect the panels. Other types of diabetes include bypass diabetes, which is also located in the junction box to prevent back currents. The back current often happens when the cells are dirty or shaded.
All these certain components are required to construct a complete solar panel. Moreover, combining each of them requires some professionalism. So always look for a panel that includes each of these components.
What are solar panels used for?
Solar panels have an immense practical application at domestic as well as commercial levels. In fact, it is on the verge of ending the stigma of energy crises. Nowadays, almost every home uses solar panels to meet extra energy needs. Moreover, even at the factory level, they use a complete solar system to run their mega machines. There are many benefits to solar panels that you can get. Some of the very useful benefits of solar panels are the following:
No chance of greenhouse gases.
Climate change is upon us. There is no way that a solar panel will emit greenhouse gases. In the production and construction of solar panels, there are no greenhouse gases involved.
Solar energy is simply energy produced from the sun’s radiation. There is no smoke, no gas, or any other chemical product that can harm the environment.
It reduces electricity bills.
The overflowing prices of the electricity grid that we use are a stumbling block. Bills are enormous nowadays. To eliminate electricity bills, using solar panels is the best alternative. So, if you use solar panels, your costs will be lower, and your electricity bills will not be as high.
Solar energy is available everywhere:
As long as there is sunshine, the solar panels will work like a charm. In fact, solar panels are very useful for remote regions where there is no access to electricity grids. It has been a big help for those people who don’t have an energy source. So there is no such barrier for solar panels. It can be situated anywhere.
It is a one-time investment.
A solar system requires a one-time investment. There is no billing system. Once you get a full solar system with all the required batteries and inverters, then it is free of charge energy that you will get. So, during the day, the electricity will come directly from the sunlight. In the meantime, the batteries connected will charge. After sunset, the charged batteries will then provide you with electricity.
It saves the ecosystem and livelihood.
While there is the destruction of the ecosystem that takes place to get some fossil fuel. It has sabotaged the ecosystem and, in fact, there is no stopping it. Solar energy doesn’t require any of those things. A simple panel can start producing energy on a sunny day. It doesn’t result in any destruction of forests or ecosystems.
Huge job creation:
Solar panels and their installation have created a lot of jobs for people. Solar panel construction companies have hired thousands of employees. In fact, the installation services have increased, especially during COVID-19. Furthermore, the job of solar cell construction is very easy. Even for labor, it doesn’t involve any hardcore work. So it’s easy and the overflowing jobs are very good for unemployed people.
Most countries are now offering some amazing benefits for solar energy users. For starters, you will get almost 30–40% of the total costs of the installation and equipment of the solar system. So in fact, you are getting a 30-40% discount on the solar system.
Not only that, if your home’s total electricity is based on the solar system, that means you are saving big units from the city’s electricity grid. Your electricity bill will be nothing. In fact, sometimes the city electricity grid will provide you with credits in return for using the solar system.
What are the three types of solar panels?
The three types of solar panels include polycrystalline, monocrystalline, and thin film. Each of these panels has its own advantages and disadvantages. Monocrystalline is considered the best and most efficient solar panel among all three types.
Which solar panel is the best?
There are many solar panels made from different materials. The monocrystalline solar cell panel is considered the best one. There are more advancements in solar panels that are still in the development phase, but monocrystalline is the best one so far.
How long do panels last?
The average life of a monocrystalline cell solar panel lasts for 25 years. In fact, if properly maintained, it can last for up to 28 years. Other types of panels, like polycrystalline, work for 12–15 years. It’s all about how you maintain your solar system.
What are the main components of a solar panel?
A normal solar panel consists of silicon cells, a metal frame, glass for casing, connectors, etc., which are the main components of solar panels.
What is the latest type of solar panel?
Heterojunction cells, gapless cells, and tunnel oxide passivated cells are considered the most advanced types of solar panels. Although all of these are still under development, They are not available on the market or for use.
Undressing solar panel construction is very crucial. If you are planning on a solar system at your home or any other place, knowing the basics will help you get the best solar system. Owning a polycrystalline solar panel for your home is the ideal choice. It is costless and can work and hold any home energy load.
However, if you want quality, then monocrystalline is the best option. It provides higher efficiency than any other type of solar panel. So if you are wondering how solar panels are made or what the contraction process takes place, the above is everything you need to know about solar panel construction.