Solar Panels

Solar Panels


What are solar panels made from?
To know whether solar panels use silicon or silicon dioxide, let's first take a look at the difference between silicon and silicon dioxide, and what are the similarities? Silicon is the main element that constitutes the mineral kingdom on earth. The abundance of silicon in the earth's crust is 27.7%, ranking second among all elements. The most abundant element in the earth's crust, that is, oxygen and silicon, are combined to form silicon dioxide (SiO2), which accounts for 87% of the total mass of the earth's crust. Since silicon is easy to combine with oxygen, silicon does not exist in a free state in nature. The symbol of the silicon element is Si; silicon has two allotropes, static and amorphous, and crystalline silicon is divided into polycrystalline silicon and monocrystalline silicon.
 
Solar panels are made from the second most abundant element in the earth's crust, that is, silicon. It can be found in rocks called silica all over the world. The stones are melted, purified, melted again, and cut into thin slices called silicon chips. The chips are then pre-treated, coated with an anti-reflective coating, connected with wires, and glued to a frame ready to be used as solar panels.
 
These are the common steps for making solar panels. So, let's talk about the differences in the manufacture of monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous solar panels specifically.
 
Monocrystalline silicon panels: These panels are made from wafers cut from silicon ingots. Their manufacturing process is labor-intensive, yet rigid, efficient and effective.

Polycrystalline silicon panels: These are produced by melting silicon crystals together. Once melted, these crystals are re-melted into the panel itself, creating an inexpensive, but a less efficient solar panel. Cylindrical ingots are not produced this way.

Amorphous silicon panels: These solar cells are amorphous and adhere directly to glass, plastic or metal. Typically, this substrate is flexible so that softer solar cells can bend. Amorphous silicon panels are more flexible when installed, but have less energy efficiency.