What Are Solar Panels Made Of & How Are They Made?

At Solar Bear of Tampa, we are always trying to help our customers beat the heat. Since the beginning of time, humans have relied on the might of the sun for survival. Fast forward to 1954, when the world’s first silicon photovoltaic cell was created to fully harness the sun’s power. This foundational invention set the stage for solar panel technology. Let’s take a look at the ground-breaking revolution that has changed the way we use this renewable resource.

Think of a solar panel as an onion. Tons of layers work together to create the ultimate masterpiece (that might give the onion too much credit but go with it). Within a solar panel’s makeup, you will find several components like aluminum framing, tempered glass, solar cells, EVA film (or highly transparent plastic), a back sheet, and a junction box. Each layer is critical for protecting solar cells from weather elements and dirt. This specific combination has been perfected over the last 60 years and now allows for the highest and most efficient energy production for the longest period.

Creating the solar panel can be a rigorous and complex process so we’ve created a shortened version. At its core, the solar panel’s design revolves around the most essential component, solar cells. To do this, solar panel manufacturers use quartz sand to extract pure silicon that will become solar cells. By exposing the sand to a very high temperature, the impurities are burned away, leaving large silicon rocks. Manufacturers then melt them down into cylindrical blocks and add Boron to give them a positive electrical polarity. Melting allows the silicon atoms to align in a desired structure and orientation. From there, the cylinders are cut into paper-thin disks or wafers, creating a shiny surface. To mitigate reflection and maximize sunlight absorption, each wafer is soaked in an anti-reflective coating before the next phase. Metal conductors are then added to each wafer in a grid-like form. These new solar cells are heated, and Phosphorus is diffused over them to ensure they carry a negative electrical orientation. This makes a positive-negative junction between the surface and contents of the cell. After that, the solar cells are linked together to form 48, 60, or 72 cell panels. Manufacturers add a protective layering of a back sheet, EVA film, tempered glass, and an aluminum frame. The junction box is then added to connect the panel to the module, allowing electricity to flow from the panel to the home.

Before solar panels are shipped to companies like Solar Bear of Tampa and homes, each panel is tested to ensure accuracy. After two more inspections, the solar panels are cleaned and then shipped out.

Quite a thorough way to beat the heat while earning financial benefits! If you are ready to learn more about adding solar panels to your home, get your free estimate here or call us at (727) 471-7442 for more information.