Materials Used For Production of Solar Panels
As we have seen before, silicon is the material of prime importance in any technology that is used in solar panels. In this article, we are going to have a look at some of the materials that are used in the production of solar panels.
The first area of concern from the outermost part of the solar panels is the glass frame in which the solar cells are enclosed in an array. The glass used in the solar panels must be highly transparent allowing an easy penetration of photons into the embedded frame. Also, at the same time, the glass must not be of too brittle in nature because of the safety and maintenance issues. Hence for the same purpose, there are a number of companies coming up with the varieties of glasses that can make the solar panels reliable and free of issues. DuPont is one such company that makes glass coverings for solar panels according to the current requirements. It is one of the leading edge companies with the materials that marvel in the world of glass laminating.
There is a structural similarity between the glass used in the solar panels and also the silicon crystals. When there is an impact on a glass sheet or when it is heated to a great extent, it breaks into fine pieces. DuPont glass, on the other hand like a polymer, breaks more safely than the others. This is because there is a thin sheet of polymer that helps in holding of the glass together. This situation can be relied on to a great extent until the time the repairs are made. This is the marvel of a simple component like laminated glass in the solar panels. Hence they are put to use in the buildings and also in the positions that are elevated and solar panels' installation sites are present.
DuPont has the value of learning and sharing for the purpose of betterment of other solar panel companies that make the feasibility of tailored solutions in the glass-clad assembly.
A point to be noted is that making of solar panels is a very delicate process. Hence the companies that invested in solar panels were withholding their market share interests till a point of time that solar panels became cheap and affordable.
Apart from the glass that is used from the strength of materials point of view, there is also silicon available in two native forms viz. Crystalline and amorphous. Crystalline silicon is cut into disks of about a centimeter thickness and then polished so that it can act as a material to absorb light (photons) efficiently and then convert it into electricity. Then there are cooling materials deployed in the solar panels so that they could be kept free from any heating damages that might be caused due to overheating in the absence of proper air regulation techniques.
Amorphous silicon, though less abundantly found in nature, serves all the requirements of solar panel manufacturing just like silicon in its crystal form. The solar panels made out of amorphous silicon are sturdy and also powerful. Usage of amorphous silicon as a material in solar panels can serve as an area of wide research and development emerging in the field of photovoltaic. However, the output and the structure of the solar panels made with the amorphous silicon is not the same. The solar cells that are made up of amorphous silicon are rolled out in a continuous process. Amorphous silicon can be made as silicon chips of extremely fine thickness which enables them with the capacity of absorbing different parts of the solar spectrum. Also, amorphous form of silicon is much less susceptible to breakage when it being transported and installed.
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