Solar Panels: Composition & Function

Solar Pannels

Due to the recent growth in popularity and affordability, more people are seeking information on solar panels.  The interest in information on solar panels ranges from their composition and construction to the way they function.  Solar panels consist of a conglomeration of photovoltaic cells.  The photons in sunlight are absorbed by these cells and the displaced electrons are caught in a magnetic field that converts them into Direct Current energy.  DC energy can then be transformed into the Alternating Current energy that most household appliances run on.  This is done by the use of a power inverter.

The materials that have been found to be the best at absorbing photons from the sun are cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide/sulfide, and various types of silicon.  Some of the most common silicon based compounds used are monocrystalline, polycrystalline, and amorphous.  These various substances go into creating the panels.  They are capable of the same work but have minor differences.  Those differences are in the price, in the slight difference on how effective they are, and will also depend on the installation location (a ground setup versus a rooftop system).

Since there are limits on the amount of power a single set of connected cells can convert into usable energy, the most effective use of solar energy is realized when multiple photovoltaic modules are installed.  Besides building integrated photovoltaics (small modules that look like regular roofing tiles) and solar thermal setups (for producing hot water in the home) there are three main types of panels available.

Information on solar panels, classified as thin film, shows that they are created from amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium gallium selenide/sulfide.  While these are currently the least expensive types of modules available, they are less suited for residential rooftop installation.  Thin film modules are most commonly used for ground power systems on large plots of land.

Polycrystalline silicon (also known as multicrystalline, ribbon or multi-silicon) are a step up from the thin film.  This composition allows for placement on rooftops while exhibiting improved ability to capture and convert photons.  Information on these solar panels shows that the element that makes them slightly less efficient than monocrystalline silicon modules is the same thing that makes them more affordable.  The construction of their design minimizes the gap in efficiency of energy production as long as multiple modules are installed.  Visually they are easy to recognize.  They are composed of thin conduit wires arranged in narrow rectangles with the silicon woven through the wires.

Rooftop systems constructed of monocrystalline silicon are some of the most popular.  Although these modules are more expensive, due to their high silicon content, they are also considered the most effective.  Since monocrystalline silicon is so efficient at absorbing photons, using a set up with that material requires fewer units for solar power generation.  These are easily identified by the square shaped cells set up in a grid across the surface of the modules.  Although the mono and polycrystalline silicon units cost more than the thin film, they are a solid investment.  Over a period of several years, they will pay for themselves.

Other useful information on solar panels includes the fact that they will greatly impact a home or small business’ utility bills.  They have a life span that will go on for many decades and they are an extremely eco-friendly method of power production.

Article is posted by XsunX -Commercial and Residential Solar Solution.



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