Understanding The 5 Main Types of Solar Cells has driven many technology research development to harness it’s energy and that’s what led to the invention Solar Cells.
What is Solar Cell?
A solar cell is an electrical system that converts light energy directly into electricity by means of a physical and chemical photovoltaic effect. It is a form of a photoelectric cell, defined as a device with varying electrical characteristics when exposed to light, such as current , voltage or resistance. Solar cells, better known as solar panels, are building blocks for photovoltaic modules.
Solar cells are defined as photovoltaic, regardless of whether the source is sun or artificial light. They are used to track light or otherwise as object detectors (e.g. infrared detectors). Measurements of electrical radiation or light intensity in the visual spectrum.
In order to operate a PV cell, 3 fundamental attributes are needed:
- Absorption of radiation produced by pairs or electron hole exactions.
- Division of different types of load carriers.
- Independent attachment of these carriers to the external circuit.
What are the 5 main types of solar cells?
Solar cells are usually referred to in accordance with their semiconductor content. In order to trap heat, these fabrics must have unique characteristics. For certain cells, the sunlight entering the surface of the earth is regulated, while in other cells it is adapted for use in space. Solar cells may consist of only one layer of light-absorbing material (single joints) or may take advantage of different absorption and load separation mechanisms by various physical arrangements (multijoints).
Solar cells of the first, second and third generation can be graded. Crystalline silicon, the currently prevalent PV technology that includes materials such as polysilicon and mono-crystalline silicon, is the first generation of cells – often referred to as modern, organic and wafer-based cells.
Second generation solar cells are thin film solar cells, including amorphous silicon, CdTe and CIGS cells, which are marketable in power plants, integrated photovoltaic or small standalone power plants. In the third generation of solar cells, several thin film technologies, most of which have not yet been commercially used and are still in the research and development phase, have often been described as emerging photovoltaic technologies.
Cadmium Telluride Solar Cell (CdTe)
Photovoltaic Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) among the 5 main types of solar cell is a photovoltaic ( PV) technology that relies on a thin semiconductor sheet based on cadmium telluride designed to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity. The only thin film material with lower costs than traditional crystalline solar panels in multi-kilowatt systems is cadmium telluride PV.
CdTe PV has the lowest carbon emissions, the lowest water use and the fastest life-cycle energy recovery time of all solar technologies. More than one year of CdTe ‘s electricity payback period makes it faster to reduce emissions without a short-term energy gap. Although some questions have already been raised and the public has no understanding of the toxicity of cadmium, the disposal of Cd-Te components at the end of their lives is an environmental issue that has been mitigated by this development. The use of rare materials can also be a limiting factor in the industrial scalability of Cd-Te technology in the medium term. CdTe photovoltaics has been used in some of the world’s most successful PV plants, such as the Topaz solar farms. In 2013, Cd Te technology accounted for more than half of the demand for thin films, contributing 5.1% of the global PV output.
Polymer Solar Cell
In organic solar cells, the material used to absorb solar light is an organic material such as a conjugated polymer. But the basic theory of both polymer solar cells and other types of solar cells is the same, namely the transformation of electricity into electrical energy (current and voltage) by electromagnetic radiation (light), i.e. the physical photovoltaic effect.
This energy transfer is feasible through the use of semiconductors. Semiconductor is a collection of materials such as an insulator and a conductor. Silicon is a classic example of a semiconductor and is currently used in most solar cells , i.e. first generation solar cells. It is a discovery that in 2000 Alan J. Heeger, Alan MacDiarmid and Hideki Shirakawa received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry that polymers could act as semiconductors.
This finding of the possibility of combined Polymers transferring electrons after doping with iodine allowed the preparation of solar cells from polymers, thus giving rise to a new field.
Polymer solar cells have long declined in the performance and stability of traditional solar cells. However, they had a potential advantage; that is, their ability to produce a solution. They can be printed or painted instead of using expensive vacuum depositions like first generation silicon solar cells. The 10 percent efficiency of polymer solar cells has now been shown.
Lifetime has also been significantly increased and several years of shelf life has been shown in plastic solar cells.
Solar polymer is a versatile polymer solar cell that generates electricity from solar energy through photovoltaic impacts, large molecules with repeated structural units.
Poly-crystalline Solar Cell (Multi-Si)
Poly-crystalline silicone is a highly pure, poly-crystalline form of silicone, often referred to as poly-silicon or poly-silicone, used as an essential material in the photovoltaic and electronic solar industries.
Poly-silicon is produced using a chemical purification process known as the Siemens process of metallurgical grade silicon. Volatile silicon compounds are refined and decomposed into high-temperature silicon in this process.
A liquid bed reactor is used in a new alternative refining method. The photovoltaic industry is now using metallurgical methods rather than chemical purification and is producing improved UMG Silicon (UMG-Si). Poly-crystalline silicone (SoGSi) is typically less transparent when manufactured for the electronics industry, but includes impurity levels of less than one part per billion (ppb).
Poly-silicon consists of thin, crystal-clear crystals that produce a standard metal flow effect in the material. Multi-crystalline crystals are usually larger than 1 mm because poly-silicon and multi-silicon are also used as synonyms.
The most popular type of solar cells in the rapidly growing photovoltaic market is multi-crystalline solar cells which use the majority of the worldwide polysilicon made. It is required to produce 1 megawatt (MW) of conventional solar modules, around 5 tons of poly-silicon. Poly-silicon is distinct from silicon and amorphous silicon mono-crystalline.
Thin Film Solar Cell (TFSC)
The most popular type of solar cells in the rapidly growing photovoltaic market is multi-crystalline solar cells which use the majority of the worldwide polysilicon made. It is required to produce 1 megawatt (MW) of conventional solar modules, around 5 tons of poly-silicon. Poly-silicon is distinct from mono-crystalline silicon and amorphous silicon.
Films significantly thinner than the competitor’s thin film production, the modern, first-generation, crystal-clear silicon solar (c-Si), which uses silicon wafers up to 200 μm, ranges from multiple nanometers ( nm) to 10 micrometers (μm). This allows for versatility, lower weight and lower resistance in thin film cells. It is used as a semi-transparent photovoltaic glazing material for the construction of integrated photovoltaics and can be laminated on screens. Many industrial installations in some of the largest photovoltaic power plants in the world include compact, thin-film solar panels (sandwiched between two glass panels).
Thin-films still were cheaper than traditional c-Si technologies, but less effective. However, it increased dramatically over the years, and CdTe’s and CIGS ‘s lab cell performance now reaches 21 percent for the prevalent material used in most solar PV systems, multi-crystalline silicon.
Monocrystalline Solar Cell (Mono-Si)
The basic substance used for silicone chips in virtually all of today’s electronics is mono-crystalline silicone (or “single-crystal silicone,” “single-crystal silicone Si,” “mono-c-Si,” or mono-Si only). Mono-Si also works in the manufacture of solar cells as a photovoltaic absorbing material for light. It consists of quartz, the whole solid crystal lattice of which is rigid, rigid and free from any grain borders. Mono-Si may be inherently prepared or doped with very small amounts of additional elements added to change its semiconductor characteristics. The majority of silicon mono-crystals grow to 2 meters in length and to several hundred kilograms in the Czochral process.
These cylinders are then divided into a few hundred micron thin wafers for further refining. The ‘Silicon era,’ perhaps the most significant technical resource in recent decades, is a single-crystal silicon, since it is necessary for the creation of electronic equipment on which to base the current revolution in electronics and computer science at an affordable price. The allotropic types of monocrystalline silicon, e.g. amorphous non-crystalline silicon, which can be used in thin solar cells and in polycrystalline silicon, which is made up of small crystals such as crystals, are very special.
The recently discovered nanotube structure, which is capable of carrying electrical charges 100 million times higher than previously estimated, will make the next generation of solar cells indefinitely useful. However, inefficiencies in materials have led to the creation of carbon nanotubes that can be used to enhance the absorption of light, with most solar cells now absorbing light using silicon.
Until now, however, nanotubes have been randomly placed into sub-optimal structures in solar cells, as they are difficult to arrange.
Feel free to drop your clarification questions regarding the 5 main types of solar cells in the comment box.
Thank you for reading our content. Subscribe to African Solar Tech to get more of our contents.