Read below and discover the method of solar panels manufacturing

Solar power is one of the cleanest, most efficient, and most carbon-free forms of generating electricity. Since its inception, solar technology has seen many advancements that have cut down its manufacturing and operational costs. In the first part of this article, we will explore how silicon is used to create solar cells- a solar panel’s basic building blocks.

Production of Silicon

  • The primary raw material for solar panels is silicon. Silicon in its pure form does not occur independently but has to be collected from the sand. Different types of sand have varying quantities of silicon. Usually, beach sand is preferred for isolating silicon. Silicon, from sand, is the second most abundant element on Earth.

In addition to the above, silicon can also be obtained from recycled solar panels. A professional solar recycling company facilitates this process. They recycle the solar panels into functional subcomponents that can be used for manufacturing new panels. This process saves a lot of energy as well as money.

  • The process that converts sand into silicon requires a lot of money and energy. If the process isn’t performed correctly, the result is impure silicon which cannot be used to make solar panels. So instead, high-grade and pure silicon is made using an arc furnace at a very high temperature containing quartz sand.

Creating Ingots

The silicon created from the arc furnace is in the shape of solid rocks. These rocks cannot be directly used for making solar panels. Therefore, hundreds of such rocks are piled together and then heated at very high temperatures. This creates ingots shaped like cylinders. A cylindrical steel furnace is used for the heating to ensure that each ingot is of the right shape.

  • While the silicon rocks are melted, special attention is given to giving all the atoms the proper structure and orientation. To provide the silicon with a positive electrical polarity, Boron is added.

There are different types of solar panels, and their differences are due to the manufacturing process used. For example, mono-crystalline solar cells are made from a single silicon crystal. As a result, these solar cells have superior efficiency in absorbing sunlight and creating electricity. This is one of the main reasons why mono-crystalline solar panels are the most expensive on the market.

  • Poly-crystalline solar cells are made from many different crystals of silicon. These crystals are melted together. If you closely observe, you will see a shattered glass-like appearance in the polycrystalline cells.

After the ingots have cooled down to a suitable temperature, they go through polishing and grinding. This ensures that the ingots have flat sides.

Silicon Wafers

  • Ingots are used to create silicon wafers, the next step in the solar panel manufacturing process. First, the ingots are sliced into thin disks. For precision cutting, a wire saw is used. The silicon wafers have the thickness of a piece of paper.

The pure silicon is reflective and shiny. An anti-reflecting coating is added to the silicon wafer to avoid sunlight being reflected. This enables the silicon wafer to absorb as much sunlight as possible, thus maximizing its efficiency.

Solar Cells

  • solar panels manufacturingWhen the silicon wafers are ready, metal conductors are added to their surface. The conductors give a grid-like appearance to the silicon wafer. The conductor aid in the absorption of sunlight. The grid-like appearance promotes the smooth flow of electrons across the wafer.

These wafers are now placed in a huge oven. Phosphorous, in the form of a thin layer, is diffused on the wafers. Phosphorous allows the surface of the wafers to have a negative electrical polarity. The combination of Boron and Phosphorous provides the positive-negative junction, which is essential for the proper functioning of the solar cell.

Preparing The Back Panel

  • After the solar cells are ready for use, plastic sheet components of the solar panel are cut and processed. These sheets are in the shape of huge rolls. They are put through a special cutting machine that splits the rolls into sheets of equal sizes.

These are then stacked on top of each other, readying them for the next step. These stacked and cut sheets are used to form the back panel of the solar panel.

Preparing The Solar Cells

  • The next step involves preparing and organizing the solar cells. Some solar panel manufacturing facilities purchase solar cells instead of producing them themselves. In either situation, a robotic arm takes the solar cells from their storage units and places them on a special conveyer belt.

This step requires extreme care and precision as the solar cells are incredibly fragile and can be damaged easily. A solar panel with damaged solar cells cannot be repaired and has to be recycled by a professional solar recycling company.

  • The cells are arranged in rows on the conveyer belt. Another robotic arm works to connect the solar cells with wires. The manufacturing facility makes sure that premium-grade wires are used that can conduct maximum electricity with the least resistance. The wires are wound in big drums and fed into the machine directly.

Number of Solar Cells

  • The solar cells are soldered in a matrix-like structure, using metal conductors. The number of solar cells in a solar panel depends on the customer’s specifications and requirements. Currently, there are 48 cell, 60 cell, and 72 cell solar panels available in the market.

The number of cells also depends on where the solar panels are going to be deployed. 48 cell solar panels are ideal for small house rooftops, 60 cells are the industry standard size for most applications, and 72 cell solar panels are used for industrial, commercial, and large-scale applications.

Final Stages Of Solar Cell Preparation

  • Once the desired number of solar cells are selected and soldered, they are sent to a machine. This machine treats the solar cells with a high-intensity light to fuse the wires. Once all the wires have fused, they are inspected by professionals at the factory before moving them to the next phase of the process.

The solar panels’ other components are ready by this stage such as glass cover, frames, and EVA encapsulants.

Solar Panel Assembly

  • When all the components are ready, the solar panel assembly starts. The back panels are placed on the EVA encapsulant sheet, providing the bottom layer of the solar panel. Rows of solar cells are now carefully placed on the back panel sheet using a robotic arm. The frame of the solar panel is designed keeping in mind the number of solar cells it is going to house.

The entire back panel now has rows of solar cells placed by a robotic arm. The professionals at the factory inspect the solar cells and the panels for quality issues. The electrical connections between the solar cells are also checked. Finally, the front layer of the EVA encapsulant sheet is added to the solar panels.

  • The solar panel is now moved to a unit that installs a tempered glass sheet. The sheet is placed on the sun-facing side of the solar panels and is polished to make sure it does not deflect any sunlight. In addition to a clean glass surface, the panels need an optimum alignment for maximum production of electricity. The panel is now enclosed in an aluminum frame.

Quality Testing

  • The panel is tested both by machines and humans for structural and quality defects. It passes through some quality and endurance tests to make sure it is ready for use. When the panels are approved for use, the junction box is fitted on the solar panels by engineers at the manufacturing facility.

If you have faulty solar panels and solar equipment, then you can play your part in protecting the environment by recycling them. We at PV2 Recycle can recycle all of your solar equipment, thus reducing the carbon footprint for manufacturing new solar panels. Contact us today at info@pv2recycle.com to learn more about our services.

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