Solar panels are environmentally friendlier and have reduced carbon emissions compared to fossil fuels. Solar can also cost half as much as fossil fuels, at 3-6 cents per kilowatt-hour. We understand that
But there’s something we may not understand. What are solar panels made of? How are solar panels made?
Read on to understand better what solar panels are made of and how they work.
What Are Solar Panels Made Of?
Solar panels need an abundance of silicon. To get that silicon, it will require a lot of sand. Luckily, silicon is the second most abundant element on earth, right after oxygen.
But to get silicon, the sand has to have a high concentration of quartz found in it. From there, the sand’s heated at really high temperatures to form silicon rocks, which make silicon wafers.
Blue Raven Solar has resources that explain more about how solar panels work.
After taking on its rock formations, the silicon is thinly sliced like a piece of paper to form wafers. The wafers are usually very circular and shiny, reflecting light and heat.
Since solar panels have to absorb heat instead of reflecting it, an anti-reflective coating is installed to prevent heat loss. Because of the coating, the wafers give out a dark appearance.
Afterward, the wafers turn into solar cells.
Silver – The Best Conductor
Although copper is cheaper and more available, silver is still the best electric conductor. This means silver is excellent for circuitry.
Silver lines the silicon wafers to hold electricity and transfer it out of the solar panels to form energy. This is what gives solar panels the sleek grid look.
Putting Them Together and Testing
Once the solar cells are done, they are lined up into a matrix and finish as a solar panel. The finish will have a thin glass to protect the top of the solar panel. Underneath the solar panel, a polymer protects it from water or dirt from coming in and damaging the device.
Before operating on their own, solar panels are tested to see if each silicon cell works correctly. Specialists will check the temperature tolerance and see if there are any cracks in the system. After everything checks out, the solar panels are ready for installation.
As they’re installed, the solar panels are angled to catch the sun and lifted so airflow can pass through the bottom, so it doesn’t get too hot. These are like the ones you see on roof solar panels for houses.
Panel Out and Discover More
So, what are solar panels made of? Solar panels are mainly comprised of sand and silver – the silicon and glass come from sand.
Solar panels are layers of glass, silicon, silver, and polymers. Silicon wafers line up together, and silver is intricately linked to conduct the electricity to transfer somewhere else.
If you find this information insightful on solar panels, be sure to take a look at our other posts regarding home improvement.