How are Solar Panels Made?

March 07, 2024

While solar energy is becoming an increasingly popular alternative energy source, many consumers want to learn how solar panels are made. Solar panel production is a relatively straightforward process requiring detail and precision. Let’s dive in!

Monocrystalline vs. Polycrystalline

First, there are two types of solar panels, monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline panels are made of one silicon crystal. Meanwhile, multiple crystals form polycrystalline panels. This fundamental difference shapes how solar panels receive solar energy and transform it into power for your home

For example, Monocrystalline panels are more efficient and produce energy faster while taking up less space. However, they are the more expensive option. On the other hand, polycrystalline panels generate energy at a slower rate and require more rooftop space. One can purchase polycrystalline panels at a lower rate to offset these shortcomings.

Aside from the number of silicon crystals in a solar panel, the production process is similar for both monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels.

How are Solar Panels Made?

Step 1: The first step to building a solar panel is to create silicon. Surprisingly enough, most manufacturers harvest their silicon from sand. Manufacturers often use quartz sand, burned at incredibly high temperatures, to produce silicon.

Step 2: Once manufacturers have produced enough silicon, usually in the form of solid rocks, they melt the deposits together into a cylindrical shape. We refer to these cylinders as silicon ingots. In the case of monocrystalline panels, manufacturers use a single ingot. Whereas when making a polycrystalline panel, they break and combine multiple ingots.

Step 3: A wire saw then slices the silicon ingots into wafers. These wafers are typically the same thickness as a sheet of paper. Since the silicon ingots are naturally reflective, manufacturers will apply an anti-reflective coating to wafers after they have cut them. This maximizes the efficiency of the material by reducing the amount of sunlight lost.

Step 4: Next, they convert wafters into solar cells by connecting wafers to one another using metal conductors. These conductors allow the wafers to transform sunlight into electricity. At this point, they apply a layer of phosphorous to the surface to provide an electrical charge, which is necessary for PV cells to convert sunlight to electricity.

Step 5:  Lastly, manufacturers solder the solar cells together. This results in the grid-like solar panel pattern that many consumers are familiar with.

Step 6: Manufacturers then test the solar panels to ensure they work correctly. They submit the panels to light and temperature testing.

Solar panels FOR YOUR home

While this process is rapid and efficient, research into the solar industry is ongoing. At Everlight Solar, we aim to be at the forefront of solar technology. We commit ourselves to delivering high-quality products to our customers. Contact us for a no-cost consultation to invest in your home and future.