Solar power is slowly becoming a hot topic all around the country, with both skeptics and curious people trying to find out as much about it as possible. A lot of people have discussed the basics and asked how are solar panels made?, making it clear that solar power is still very much a mystery. Still, these questions are essential if you are considering going solar and weighing your options.
So, how are solar panels made, and how do they work? Find the step-by-step process below.
1. The Sand
As with any manufacturing process, we start with raw material. In the case of solar panels, that is sand, which is extremely rich in silicon. However, converting the sand into top-quality silicon isn’t an easy process. Companies need experienced technicians, an arc furnace, and high temperatures.
The next step is melting the silicon into ingots in a cylindrical shape. As the silicon melts, manufacturers pay special attention, so all the atoms are aligned in the desired way. Throughout the process, they add boron to give the silicone cells a positive electrical polarity.
The ingots can be made from monosilicon cells, which are better at converting solar power into electricity. These panels are, thus, more expensive. Conversely, the ingots can also be made from polysilicon cells, in which case the panels are a bit more affordable.
The next step in the solar panel creation process is making the wafers. Wafers are thin discs of silicone, and manufacturers get them by cutting the ingots from step two.
These discs can reflect sunlight because they contain pure silicon, which is highly reflective. Companies also add an anti-reflective coating to the wafers to ensure that the amount of unabsorbed sunlight is minimal.
4. From Wafers to Solar Cells
Then, we have the process of converting the wafers into solar cells. Everything starts with the addition of conductors to the wafer’s surface. The conductors are responsible for the grid-like patterns of the wafers and, later on, the panels themselves. In addition, they ensure the conversion of solar energy into electricity is seamless.
Lastly, companies treat the wafers with phosphorus. This process will give the cell a negative electrical orientation, aside from the positive one provided by boron. With this step, the cells are ready, and it is time to make the panels.
5. The Solar Panels
Integrating several solar cells together into a matrix-like structure is how we get solar panels. The panels come with 48, 60, or 72 solar cells soldered together. Which one you will choose depends on the size of your home and roof and your energy needs.
The next step after the cells are put together is to cover the structure with a thin layer of glass. In addition, a polymer-based material protects the back of the panel, so nothing can come inside the cells and damage them. Finally, the only thing left is adding the juncture box, which enables connections between the cells.
Companies complete the process by adding the frame of the panel. It will protect the panel against the weather and ensure you can mount it to your roof. And just like that, a solar panel is ready to transform your home and help you save money!
A Few Parting Words
As you have read, the question how are solar panels made? does not have such a simple answer. The process contains several important steps, and a great solar manufacturer does not miss a single one. Doing so ensures that your panels are as high-quality as it gets and that you get the best out of solar power.