How are Solar Panels Made?

How are Solar Panels Made?

Solar energy is a good source of producing electricity, and hence the use of this renewable energy source need to be encouraged. To harness the energy, solar panels are used, and in this Buzzle article, we tell you how these panels are made.
Solar panels are modules of photovoltaic cells used in producing electricity from light energy. Photovoltaic or solar cells are made up of silicon, a semiconducting material. The silicon absorbs the photons present in the sunlight. These photons knock the electrons in silicon atoms and allow them to flow freely through the material. The motion of electrons, thus, generates electricity. The photons can either be absorbed or reflected from the surface of the solar cells, depending upon the energy present in them.

Solar Panels

A solar panel is actually an assembly of solar cells mounted on a panel and covered by glass for protection. The procedure of constructing a solar panel involves the preparation of solar cells for assembling them together on the panel. These cells are manufactured from silicon, and the two types that are used for this purpose are crystalline and amorphous silicon. Let us understand the making of solar panels with crystalline and amorphous silicon in the following paragraphs.

Crystalline Solar Panel
The crystalline silicon which makes up the panel is cut into thin pieces (wafer-form) and polished. Any gaps present in the cells are filled, after which dopants are added in order to contaminate the pure silicon. Phosphorus, which acts as a dopant, is used to coat these silicon cells. The dopant diffuses through the surface and contaminates the cells as per the requirement. A backing panel serves as a platform to arrange or assemble these contaminated solar cells. Metal strips which conduct electricity are fixed on the assembly of these cells and on their sunward face. A glass layer fixed over the assembly of solar cells provide them with the necessary protection, and at the same time allows sunlight to pass through. In the process of constructing a solar panel, thermally conductive cement is used to attach it to the substrate. The cement helps prevent the cells from overheating, however, being expensive, it increases the cost of the solar panel. It is necessary to keep the solar panel cool. It should thus be placed at an elevated position from the ground. Apart from the use of thermally conductive cement, this measure helps in keeping the solar panel cool.

Amorphous Solar Panel
Amorphous solar panels are made from silicon and doping materials which are sprayed together on a backing material. The backing material or platform used could be a metal one or manufactured from glass. In order to make these panels flexible, plastic could be used in the construction process. The silicon layer used for these panels is thinner than crystalline wafers. The simplicity of the assembling process and the exclusion of expensive crystalline wafers reduces the manufacturing cost to a great extent.

The above article presents before us the information regarding how solar panels are made, and a short description about how solar energy is produced. Solar panels thus, remain an effective, though slightly expensive way to produce electricity.