PV Solar Panels
What is a PV Solar Panel?
Photovoltaics is used to describe the technique of converting solar energy directly into electrical energy. This so-called photovoltaic effect, generated from light power, was discovered by Alexander Becquerel in 1839.
The term "photovoltaic" originates from the Ancient Greek word "phos", meaning light, and the SI unit for electrical voltage (volt).
When photons hit a solar cell, electrons are stimulated to migrate and an electrical direct current is produced between the side turned towards the light and the side turned away from the light. Electrical current flows as soon as the electrical circuit is closed.
Types of PV Solar Panels
There are 3 basic types of construction of PV Solar Panels constructed of silicon.
Monocrystalline cells are cut from a single crystal of silicon and are effectively a slice from a crystal.
In appearance, it will have a smooth texture and you will be able to see the thickness of the slice.
These are generally the most efficient and the most expensive to produce. They are also rigid and must be mounted in a rigid frame to protect them.
Polycrystalline (or Multicrystalline) cells are effectively a slice cut from a block of silicon, consisting of a large number of crystals.
They have a speckled reflective appearance and again you can you see the thickness of the slice.
These cells are generally slightly less efficient and slightly less expensive than monocrystalline cells and again need to be mounted in a rigid frame.
Amorphous cells are manufactured by placing a thin film of amorphous (non crystalline) silicon onto a wide choice of surfaces. These are the least efficient and least expensive to produce of the three types. Due to the amorphous nature of the thin layer, it is flexible, and if manufactured on a flexible surface, the whole solar panel can be flexible.
One characteristic of amorphous solar cells is that their power output reduces over time, particularly during the first few months, after which time they are basically stable. The quoted output of an amorphous panel should be that produced after this stabilisation.
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