Here Are The Different Types of Solar Photovoltaic Cells You Must Know About
Also known simply as the Solar Cell, a Photovoltaic cell can be described as a solid state electrical device that carries out the conversion of light energy into electrical power by a technique called the photovoltaic effect. In case you are planning to install a solar PV system for commercial or domestic use, it might be helpful to have an understanding of the various different types of solar photovoltaic cells that are available in the market.
Monocrystalline silicon cells
Touted as the most efficient PV technology out there, the Monocrystalline silicon cells are produced by slicing up cylindrical silicon crystals into smaller pieces. Research indicates that these panels are powerful enough to convert as much as 15 percent of solar energy into directly usable electricity. Given the complicated process of manufacturing the Monocrystalline silicon, its panels are a little more expensive than the other types of PV panels.
Polycrystalline silicon cells
Often referred to as multicrystalline cells, polycrystalline silicon PV cells are produced by cutting smaller pieces of a melted recrystallised silicon ingot. The manufacturing process involves slicing up the ingot into thin wafer like structures and assembling them into a fully formed cell. With a typical average efficiency of about 12 percent, these PV panels come second to their Monocrystalline counterparts in terms of costs.
Thick Film silicon cells
An advanced variant of the traditional multicrystalline technology, thick film silicon panels are produced by depositing molten silicon onto a base material. The deposition process is carried out very slowly and steadily to ensure that the silicon film formed on the substrate is thick and fine grained and has a distinctive sparkling appearance. Following the structural design of all other types of crystalline photovoltaic cells, the thick film silicon panels too are covered by a transparent insulating polymer and finished off with a cover made of tempered glass.
Amorphous silicon cells
Created by depositing molten silicon as a fine homogeneous film onto a solid substrate, the amorphous silicon cells are often referred to as the ‘thin film’ PV cells. Since these cells can be deposited on both flexible and rigid substrates, they are perfect for installing directly onto the roof surface, curved or straight. Although the amorphous silicon is cheaper to manufacture, its efficiency is recorded pretty low at 6 percent. That is why it is a good idea to opt for the crystalline technology, especially if maximum power generation per square meter is your major concern.