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What Are Solar Panels Made Of?

Have you ever wondered how solar panels use science to turn sunshine into electricity? How solar panels are built has a significant impact on how they function.

Solar cells are arranged on a single back sheet to create solar panels. A glass pane covers this cell arrangement, which is held together by a frame. Solar cells' main purpose is to turn sunlight into electricity. However, they can't do this without unique manufacturing techniques.

Let's delve more into this procedure.

Solar Deconstruction: Beyond the Base

Silicon is used as the main raw material in the production of solar cells. Second, the only oxygen in terms of abundance on Earth is silicon. Its abundance makes it the perfect resource for eco-friendly, low-cost production. But before it can be utilized in manufacturing, silicon must be mined and refined first.

Pure silicon is obtained from silicon dioxides such as quartzite pebbles or crushed quartz. The silicon is then subjected to phosphorus and boron treatment, sometimes called "doping," to create an electron surplus in one layer and an electron deficit in another. Each silicon layer has uneven electrical charges, resulting in a one-way semiconductor that can conduct electricity.

A piece of paper may fit within each solar cell. To keep some rigidity and withstand the elements, the cells are covered in silicon nitride and gently roughened to generate a gripping feel. Additionally, by reducing reflectance, the cells are better equipped to collect sunlight and use it as energy.

Application & Procedure

The solar cells proceed to the next production stage after being carefully examined for breaks, fractures, and sunshine testing. At this stage, an ethylene vinyl acetate coating is applied to the cells (EVA). The EVA coating serves as an adhesive to hold the solar cells on the glass in place. The grid, made up of a pattern of little metal fingers and bigger busbars, stores the energy that the connected cells conduct once they are on the glass.

The last step before sealing the cell is to apply a second layer of EVA and an additional back sheet to safeguard the internal wiring.

The Groundwork

Lamination is the next step in the manufacturing process. An industrial laminator is used to sandwich the glass, EVA, solar cells, and wire and apply heat and vacuum pressure to bond them into a solid waterproof panel. It is fastened to an aluminum frame around the edges to keep the panel stable and in place. The junction box is then fastened to the back. A pair of cables connecting to the junction box transmit the electricity produced by the panel.

Green Production And Green Energy

In a 2013 study, Stanford University researchers found that within the first four years of operation, solar panels create more energy than was needed to make them. Every significant manufacturer of solar panels promises at least 25 years of production. As more solar energy is deployed internationally, solar panel recycling is becoming a significant industry. The glass and aluminum in the panels are infinitely recyclable.

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