What Are Solar Panels Made Of?
Question: I am considering making a conversion to
solar energy, but I’d like to know a little more about the technology
first. What are solar panels made of?
Answer: The most common material used to make solar panels is silicon. Roughly 50 years ago silicon’s properties as a semiconductor were discovered. What makes silicon so useful in electronics, and solar energy systems, is its lack of electric charge which allows electricity to pass through it effortlessly.
Solar panels consist of many smaller components called solar cells. A solar cell is a piece of silicon that has been “doped” (chemically altered) on opposite ends to produce a positive charge and a negative charge on either end which creates an electric field, while leaving the middle pure silicon which allows for the easy transfer of electricity. Typically one end of the silicon is doped with Boron and the other is doped with Phosphorous.
This process happens over and over at a very high rate, and the end results are the flow of electricity across many silicon solar cells that collectively form a solar panel. These solar panels are wired in such a way that the electricity is harvested and can either be used directly by your household (by an appliance for example) or it can be sent to an array of batteries which are charged for later use when the sun’s energy is unavailable (night time or cloudy periods).
Materials other than silicon are also available. These materials are usually cheaper to manufacture, but are less efficient than silicon.
No matter which material you choose, solar energy systems are available as DIY kits for easy home-installation and maintenance.
Want to know the secrets of building your own solar system?
Then I strongly recommend that you check out the guide from Earth4Energy.
It's the best step-by-step guide that will show you exactly how to build and install your own solar panel system. Click here to learn more
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