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What Are Solar Panels Made Of?

If you are considering moving to renewable energy, understanding how solar cells work can help you see just how beneficial the move to solar power can be.
Solar Panels
4 minutes
Written by:
Joey Cheek
Updated on:
December 8, 2022

If you are considering making the move to renewable energy, understanding how solar cells work can help you see just how beneficial the move to solar power can be. Though complex in their function, once installed, they can generate solar power reliably, creating an exceptional tool for powering your home without the high costs associated with other types of electricity.

SmartSolar.org can help you learn how solar panels work for your needs. To get started, take our SmartSolar.org quiz. Contact us to start the process and learn how to tap into the benefits of solar.

How Are Solar Panels Produced?

To understand solar panels and how they are made, you have to consider the various types of solar panels available today. There are three common types found according to EcoWatch:

  • Thin film solar panels
  • Monocrystalline solar panels
  • Polycrystalline solar panels

Each of these solar panels has several types of solar materials included. That includes the solar cells, glass, and EVA, as well as a frame and backsheet. When you consider the various types of solar panels available, you’ll find that various types of materials are needed to construct them. That includes amorphous silicon, polysilicon, and mono silicon.

The process of creating solar panels

Here is a quick look into the manufacturing process to produce solar technology:

  • Most solar panels are made of silicon, which is the main material in sand. It’s the second most available element on the planet. To work in solar panels, it has to be converted into higher-grade silicon.
  • Sand, usually in big rocks, melted together at a high temperature to create ingots shaped like a cylinder. This is done in a cylindrical furnace. This process aligns the atoms, and then boron is added to the process. This leads to a positive electrical polarity.
  • The next part of the solar panel manufacturing process involves the silicon ingot being sliced into thin disks called wafers. The wafer can be as thin as paper and is then treated with an anti-reflective coating to minimize sunlight loss.
  • Metal conductors are added to the surface of each solar panel to create a grid-like matrix. This process helps ensure the conversion of solar energy into usable electricity. The coating added to the surface helps to encourage direct sunlight absorption.
  • Then, phosphorus is diffused into a thin layer in a high-temperature oven and placed over the wafers. This allows for the charging of the solar panel surface with a negative electrical orientation.

This process creates solar cells. After this, each solar cell needs to be soldered together to make a solar panel. This is done using metal connectors that are then linked to each cell.

Solar panels will be placed into a grid or varying-sized grids that are used based on the overall solar energy production needed. The smallest versions are often 48-cell panels which are used for residential roofs that are smaller. 60-cell panels are the next size and the most commonly used. The largest options are 72 cells which are often used for large solar installations.

Answering Your Questions About Solar Panels and Solar Cells

When it comes to solar power, investing in such a significant change in how you power your home often leads to key questions. Let us answer your questions about solar modules, new solar installations, and more. 

What Metal Is Used to Make Solar Panels?

There are several types of materials used in the creation of solar panels. The two most common thin film PV semiconductors that are used today include cadmium telluride and copper indium gallium diselenide. This helps to create the PV cells and aids in producing the maximum efficiency possible.

What Are the Raw Materials Needed to Make Solar Panels?

This depends on the type of solar panels created. However, nearly all have silicon cells made from molten silicon or beach sand. The silicon crystals play an important role in the ability of solar panels to capture the sun’s energy and turn it into energy that can be used in producing electricity.

What Is One of the Main Ingredients of Solar Panels?

A solar cell comprises numerous materials, but the most common component in solar panels is silicon. Silicon solar cells are made from crystalline silicon, which is beach sand.

Are Solar Panels Made Out of Glass?

Some solar panels are made with tempered glass. This may also be called toughened glass, which helps to make the glass stronger.

How to Get Started with Solar Panels for Your Home or Business

If you are considering solar panel installation, you’ll want to learn as much as you want about using multiple solar cells to create solar arrays. When you work with our team at SmartSolar.org, we can help you determine how much power output you need so that we can then create a solar panel system that works for your specific needs.

You can generate electricity that is perfectly suited for meeting the needs of your home. Our team at SmartSolar.org can help you. Contact us today to learn more about the manufacturing process of solar panels, including photovoltaic cells. Set up a consultation to discuss your ability to get off the electric grid.

Joey Cheek

Meet the author:

Joey Cheek

Joey Cheek spent 10 years on the US National Speedskating Team where he competed in two Olympic Games, winning gold, silver, and bronze medals. He attended Princeton before diving into the startup and tech world. In 2011 he launched a livestreaming platform for sports before leading a team of engineers building next-gen news and content apps for Fortune 100 companies. He is the CEO and co-founder of SmartSolar.org, whose mission is to move the earth to cheap, abundant, carbon-free energy.

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