Harnessing solar energy through solar panels has become an increasingly popular choice for homeowners and businesses seeking to reduce their environmental impact while generating clean, renewable energy. If you've ever wondered what the cells on solar panels are made of and how they work, keep reading to learn more about the materials used in solar cells and how those materials contribute to their functioning.

The Composition of Solar Cells

At the heart of a solar panel lies an array of photovoltaic cells, commonly known as solar cells. These cells are responsible for converting sunlight into electricity. The most common type of solar cell found in panels today is made of silicon, a semiconductor material abundant in the Earth's crust. Silicon is chosen for its unique electrical properties, making it an excellent candidate for photovoltaic applications of all types. Of course, its most widely recognized usage is in the makeup of solar panels.

Crystalline Solar Cells

Solar cells are primarily classified into two types: monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline cells are made from a single crystal structure, resulting in a uniform appearance and higher efficiency. These cells are recognizable by their rounded edges and dark, almost black color. Polycrystalline cells, on the other hand, are composed of multiple silicon crystals, giving them a more fragmented look and a bluish tint.

How Solar Cells Work

Solar cells operate based on the principle of the photovoltaic effect. When sunlight strikes the surface of the solar panel, the solar cells absorb the photons, which in turn excite the electrons within the silicon atoms. This excitation causes the electrons to break free from their atoms, creating an electric current. The conductive properties of the silicon material facilitate the movement of these freed electrons, allowing them to flow through an electrical circuit. By connecting multiple solar cells together, the overall electrical output is increased, generating usable electricity.

Encouraging Further Exploration

While this blog provides a brief overview of the composition and functioning of solar cells, there is much more to learn about solar panel technology and the different types of solar modules available in the market. If you are considering installing solar panels on your property or simply want to expand your knowledge, reaching out to a solar professional is highly recommended. These experts can guide you through the various options, including the differences between a polycrystalline solar module as compared to a monocrystalline solar module, and help you make an informed decision based on your specific needs and budget.