What are Solar PV Cells?
Updated: Feb 10
Solar Photovoltaic or PV Cells are the heart of a solar panel.
(Solar panels are also called solar PV modules.)
PV Cells are almost square or pseudo-square-shaped slices of silicon, that convert the light that falls onto them into electrical power.
They are fragile and very thin.
Most silicon PV solar cells (multi/mono) (PERC/ BSF) are between 200 to 400 μm in thickness.
(For e.g. RenewSys solar PV cells – RESERV – are about 200 ± 20µm.
This is approximately as thick as two to three sheets of regular A4 printing or copy paper.)
This thickness has been arrived at after a lot of research to optimize the cell's power generation, performance, and life.
PV wafer to PV Cell - Stages of PV Cell Manufacturing:
Dopped & diffused wafer
PSG removed wafer
Back contact wafer
Front contact wafer
Solar PV Cell
The solar module is built to protect these PV cells and collect the electric power they generate, without decreasing the light that reaches the cells. Hence, each module component is selected with care.
Here are the functions of two of the key components of a solar panel.
Encapsulant – EVA or POE – It is a specialized material that encapsulates or is used for laminating the cells’ front and back faces. It provides cushioning, and adhesion to the glass and Backsheet, and allows only a specific wavelength range of the light spectrum to reach the cells.
Read more about Encapsulants here.
Backsheet – A two or three-layered material, this is the outermost layer of a panel that faces the ground/ roof/ water on which the solar panel has been installed. It provides protection from moisture, dust, partial discharge, and UV rays from damaging the cell.
Read more about Backsheets here.
Images Credits: RenewSys