How Solar Panels work
Lucky Brand stock a wide variety of Solar panels all being manufactured from Silicone. Solar panels have generally had several patents and developments from the 7th BC, with monocrystalline cells being first developed in 1955. They conduct and convert the sun’s energy to produce electricity.
Radiation energy is absorbed by semi-conductor cells – normally silicon – and transformed from photo energy (light) into voltaic (electrical current).When the sun’s radiation hits a silicon atom, a photon of light energy is absorbed, ‘knocking off’ an electron.
These released electrons create an electric current. The electric current then goes to an inverter, which converts the current from DC (direct current) to AC (alternating current).
The system is then connected to the mains power or electricity grid. The power (measured in watts) of the cell is determined by the current and the voltage of the cell. The voltage depends on the cell’s internal electric field.
Monocrystalline vs Polycrystalline Solar Panels
Crystalline silicon solar cells derive their name from the way they are made. The difference between monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar panels is that monocrystalline cells are cut into thin wafers from a singular continuous crystal that has been grown for this purpose. Polycrystalline cells are made by melting the silicon material and pouring it into a mould.
The uniformity of a single crystal cell gives it an even deep blue colour throughout. It also makes it more efficient than the polycrystalline solar modules whose surface is jumbled with various shades of blue.
Apart from the crystal growth phase, there is little difference between the construction of mono- and polycrystalline solar cells.
The cells are usually laminated using tempered glass on the front and plastic on the back. These are joined using a clear adhesive and then the module is framed with aluminium. Single crystal modules are usually smaller in size per watt than their polycrystalline counterparts.
Types of Solar Panels Stocked by Lucky Brand
Monocrystalline silicon cells. These cells are made from pure monocrystalline silicon. In these cells, the silicon has a single continuous crystal lattice structure with almost no defects or impurities. The main advantage of monocrystalline cells is their high efficiency, which is typically around 15%. The disadvantage of these cells is that a complicated manufacturing process is required to produce monocrystalline silicon, which results in slightly higher costs than those of other technologies. Lucky Brand carries these panels in the 330w size only at the moment.
Multicrystalline silicon cells. Multicrystalline cells are produced using numerous grains of monocrystalline silicon. In the manufacturing process, molten polycrystalline silicon is cast into ingots, which are subsequently cut into very thin wafers and assembled into complete cells. Multicrystalline cells are cheaper to produce than monocrystalline ones because of the simpler manufacturing process required. They are, however, slightly less efficient, with average efficiencies being around 12%. Lucky Brand carries these panels in sizes ranging from 10w to 300w.
(Sources: https://www.vivintsolar.com/learning-center/history-of-solar-energy, https://exploringgreentechnology.com/solar-energy/how-solar-panels-work/, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/monocrystalline-silicon-cell)