Panels
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The Solar panel is actually a generic name for the device receiving the energy from the sun - light. Photovoltaic panel contains many photovoltaic cells which converts solar energy into electricity

A photovoltaic (PV) cell is semiconductor device - a photodiode made of silicon layer of the "N" and "P". Both layers are separated by "PN" transition. When the impact of solar radiation on the silicon layer arises in the semiconductor and the electric charge is discharged from the photovoltaic cell as electricity.

Output voltage is about 0.5 V. This voltage is very low for use in any electronic applications.

Therefore, the photovoltaic cells connected:

  • in series for higher voltage
  • or parallel for higher current

Combining multiple photovoltaic cells photovoltaic panel arises.


Type of panels:

Monocrystalline modules (also mono c-Si)

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Efficiency 13-17%
Price: the highest
Life span: 25 years
Advantages: a small percentage of the overlapping panel, power loss is negligible
Weaknesses: very low production in defused light.

It is manufactured using single-crystal silicon wafer cells. Wafer cells are cut from cylin¬drical ingots therefore wafers do not completely cover a square. Cells have uncovered gaps at the four corners. Monocrystalline panels have the better efficiency.

Polycrystalline modules (also poly or multi-crystalline c-Si)

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Efficiency 10-14%
Price: less than that for single crystals
Life span: 25 years
Advantages: a small percentage of the overlapping panel, power loss is negligible
Weaknesses: very low production in defused light

It is made from cast square silicon ingots therefore wafer are complete square. Ribbon silicon is a type of multicrystalline silicon. It is for¬med by drawing flat thin films from molten silicon which re-sults in a multicrystalline structure. Ribbon silicon saves on production costs due to an enormous reduction of silicon waste.

Thin Film modules

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Efficiency 4-8%
Price: lowest compared with poly and single crystal
Life: less than that for poly and single crystals
Advantages: good efficiency at defused light intensity, the thin silicon layer can be applied to the film, so it can also be flexible.
Weaknesses: the overlap of a small percentage of the panel, the power loss to 90%
Use: Consumer Electronics 

There are different types of thin film panels: CdTe, CIGS, GaAs multijunction, DSSCs, Organic/polymer solar cells, silicon thin films (Amorphous silicon a-Si or a-Si:H, Protocrystalli¬ne silicon, Nanocrystalline silicon nc-Si or nc-Si:H). Thin-film technologies reduce the amount of silicon material re¬quired in creating a solar cell. Though this reduces production costs, it also reduces energy conversion efficiency. Thin-film silicon cells have become popular due to cost and ease of integration, compared to wafer crystalline silicon cells. The land required for the construction is nearly double to what is needed with Crystalline Modules.


Hybrid modules (also a-Si / nc-Si panels)

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It is an advantageous combination of nc-Si and a-Si in thin layers creating a layered cell called a tandem cell. The top cell in a-Si absorbs the visible light and leaves the infrared part of the spectrum for the bottom cell in nc-Si. These cells have higher efficiencies than thin film but still lower costs than poly-Si.


 The quality of manufactured PV modules is extremely critical. The typical performance warranty given by module manufacturers is for a period rating between 25 – 30 years, wherein the yield/output shall not fall below a specified percentage (around 80%) of the rated capacity. Mono and Poly-crystalline modules are usually produced as framed with a white background foil. Frameless design or black background foil are also available. Thin-film modules and hybrid modules are usually produced as frameless. Framed version is also an option.


 
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