What's involved in Solar Panel Manufacturing?
Even though the fundamental principle of how solar panels convert sunlight into useful power has not changed since their introduction decades ago, the way they are manufactured and the material used in their construction certainly has. Most modern panels have enjoyed a steady stream of improvements over the years and are now able to provide far more power than older panels and last for decades on your roof.
Solar panel technology has improved dramatically in recent years and the changes made to these newer solar panels allow them to be much more efficient and durable than older panels. These new panels can generate far more power in a given day and will last years longer on your roof as well. These benefits are the result of better formulations used in making the solar cells as well as improvements to the solar panel manufacturing process itself. Even though the basics of how these solar panels for homes work has changed very little over the years, because of these improvements most home solar power systems are a better investment than ever before.
In simple terms, a solar panel is a collection of individual solar cells that have been connected together inside of a weatherproof enclosure to generate some free electricity from the sun. Even though this sounds like a simple enough arrangement, all of these individual parts need to work together perfectly to provide the best possible output from the system.
Solar Cell Technology
For example, the solar cells used to build one of these solar panels for homes are mostly made from a silicon formulation in the newer panels. The composition of these solar cells has been steadily improved over the years as newer discoveries have been made that allow manufacturers to adjust how these solar cells are made. By adding various chemicals to the silicon base, modern solar cells have become several times more efficient than solar cells produced a decade ago and are also less expensive to produce. They have also become more durable as well and can last far longer than older cells. All of these changes help to make these solar panels a better buy for consumers.
Higher Efficiency Means Small Systems
Since they can generate more power, they enable the average home solar power systems to be smaller and less expensive. This means you'll typically need a smaller investment when using solar power for homes and also have to surrender less roof space to mount the system. The durability improvements are also a great advantage since they allow these newer home solar power systems to last longer and extend the advantages of your initial investment.
Growing Your Solar Cells
The way these solar cells are made involves growing a cylinder of this silicon substrate in a very clean laboratory environment. Once this cylinder is the proper size, very thin sections of the cylinder are sliced off and these become the solar cells. These fragile discs are attached to a non-conductive substrate like glass and small leads are attached for the conduction of the electricity they produce.
Mounting the Cells
A collection of these solar cells are then mounted to a stiff backing board and wired together to form a solar panel. This is all enclosed in a weatherproof casing to protect it from the elements but still allow the sunlight access to the solar cells through a transparent top cover. When this entire enclosure is exposed to sunlight, it can generate quite a bit of power that is then supplied to your home.
Stronger Than Before
In addition to the improvements in solar cell production, newer materials are being used for the construction of the weatherproof enclosure. Materials like aluminum that provides a lightweight and durable frame to mount the solar cells and protect them from the elements has allowed these newer panels to far outlast the older versions. All of these changes help to make these newer solar panels for homes a great investment that the average homeowner can reap the benefits from for years to come.
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