When you come across solar panels, they may simply look like a single comprehensive block, but the truth is that solar panels are made of a bevy of chemical components and materials, each crucial to the effective and efficient conversion of solar light into usable electricity.
Solar panels are made from a combination of two elements: silicon and silver. Every solar panel is actually composed of many individual solar cells. The cells themselves are nothing more than pieces of silicon. Thankfully, silicon is highly abundant in the environment, so environmentalists can rest easy knowing that the Earth isn’t being depleted of this important element.
Silicon in solar cells is able to absorb the energy from the sun and actually convert that energy into electron energy. Once the electrons begin flowing between the layers of silicon, it’s up to the conductor within the solar panel to actually use the energy that’s been generated. Silver happens to be the element that’s most widely used in solar panels because almost all of the energy that’s generated from the solar rays which hit the cells can actually be used.
With silicone being the predominant material used to create solar panels, the natural question to ask is: why? Silicone has been used as the semiconductor material of a solar PV panel for the majority of the solar industry’s history. When investigating all possible materials on the periodic table, developers of early and modern solar panels all found that silicone actually boasted a number of ideal properties that made it the perfect candidate as this semiconductor material:
Silicone is abundantly available and affordable as an elemental material, making it good for large-scale systems. Chemically and electronically speaking, silicone is quite easy to optimize for the photovoltaic effect that efficiently converts sunlight into electricity. As a component material, silicone is recognized as having a long lifespan, making the investment in solar panels even more fruitful.
A solar panel also has the following components:
- Glass. The top layer of a solar panel is typically made of glass, which protects the solar cells from the elements.
- Plastic. The back of a solar panel is typically made of plastic. It provides structural support and helps to keep the solar cells cool.
Original content from Greener Ideal
Also read 5 myths about solar panels, demystified
Universal Kraft combines different solar energy technologies, in a way to find the best solutions to each area, in land or on water. We develop installations for local energy production, minimizing grid constraints with decentralized solutions.
Solar energy is statistically reliable, effective, easy to install and with a decreasing price curve, becoming one of the cheapest and cleanest energy sources in the world. Our PV installations are developed responsibly as possible, aiming to be integrated into the social and environmental surroundings.
These installations guarantee a stable use of the location for over 25-35 years, and relatively easy to restore the lands to its original state after this period. It is a form of installation with a limited environmental impact. Also, the materials used can be recovered, recycled and transformed into new solar panels or other products.