How are solar panels made?

Solar energy has changed the way the world generates and uses power. The need for alternative energy sources such as solar energy has escalated over the years because of the rapid depletion of natural fuel resources. In other words, we all need to say hurrah to solar power!

The power from the sun is harnessed using solar panels, which have risen in popularity over the years. But just how are solar panels created?

A typical solar panel contains solar cells made of crystalline silicon, which come in small disk-like shapes with thickness not exceeding one centimeter. The silicon disks are polished to remove any imperfections as a result of the cutting process.

The next step involves changing the electrical charge of the silicon disks. By default, silicon is a poor conductor of electricity, and so the disks need to undergo a doping process. This procedure allows for atomic impurities – or dopants – to combine with silicon atoms, which consequently change the charge of the disk. To make the energy flow through the panel, a thin grid layer of metal conductors is placed underneath the disks. When the solar panels are installed in a facility, the thin sheet of metal faces the ground.

The matrix of silicon solar cells are protected by a layer of glass. The entire assembly is then finished with a special kind of cement that has good thermal conductivity. The cement absorbs excess energy from the sun, which could otherwise overheat the panel and destroy the solar cells.

Developments in the field of solar energy are continuous, and new kinds of solar panels are emerging. One of the newest kinds of solar panels is made of amorphous silicon, which is applied in multiple thin layers to absorb the various wavelengths of solar energy. As a result, the thinner solar cells require less manufacturing cost and better energy efficiency.

The world of solar energy is showing a lot of promise, and it’s great to know that many industries and facilities are now shifting to this free and natural energy source. Localities in California such as San Diego and Orange County are spearheading the solar revolution, and we’re hoping that this spreads all over the world.

[Photo courtesy of Pulpolux !!! on Flickr]