Nationwide Home Solar Power Contractors and Information
A solar cell, or photovoltaic (PV) cell, is itself a component of a solar panel, or module. Solar cells are made of a material, usually silicon, that acts as a semiconductor. The silicon is cut into a wafer-thin size which absorbs solar radiation, or heat, and creates electricity as free-flowing electrons, or electrical current, is captured by diodes attached to the semiconductor.
Silicon, albeit the most popular, is not the only functional component of solar cells. There are two other generations of solar cells, each with different components, but all achieving essentially the same goal.
Thin film solar cells make up the second generation. They may still utilize silicon (typically amorphous silicon) but also utilize components such as cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS). These ingredients are then embedded into a thin film and applied to glass or ceramics.
Technologies such as organic solar cells make up the third generation. Components of these solar cells include such everyday items as blackberries and other fruit extracts (dye-sensitized cells). Polymer solar cells are made up of primarily carbon-based components injected into a polymer. Foil solar cells replace traditional silicon with copper and other materials as semiconductors in a protective steel or titanium package that is very thin and flexible.
Most third generation solar cells, despite the high potential and inexpensive nature of their components, are still mainly a research phenomenon due to problems achieving significant efficiencies.Solar Cell Components / Four Generations
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