As the world’s oil resources dwindle by the minute, countries are scrambling to develop technologies that would power up in the future without oil. One of the most promising in this field is the utilization of solar cell energy. At present, some countries have already taken big steps to develop and make use of this technology. It had already been powering up buildings and some homes.
To capture the massive solar energy that is all around us, there is for developing better solar cells that would better utilize the exploitation of this natural resource. But how do these solar cells is made?
Most of the solar cells that are being sold are made of polysilicon. These are the cells use in small solar panels being installed on homes or in solar-powered calculators. These cells are usually placed as a group because even though a single cell can produce some power but for much higher energy needs, a group of cells would be much more efficient.
The manufacturing of solar cell energy begins in the preparation of silicon. The most commonly used is silicon oxide. It would first be subjected to high heat in a furnace which purifies it by 99 percent. It would still be purified until it reaches a purity of 99.5% which would make it ready to be made into cells.
Next would involve the crystallization of the purified silicon. The silicon would be melted and boron would be added to it. The boron would help generate the electrical basis of the silicon. These solar cells are now called the p-type or positively charged cells. The cells are still in what they call as ingots. They would still need to be cut very precisely (around 200-300 microns) by a computer guided cutter before the cells can be ready for the next step.
The next step would involve the immersion of the cells in a negatively charged chemical with water. Then, an anti-reflective layer would be added to make the cells absorb not reflect the sun’s energy. This is what makes the solar cells look dark in the panels which are usually black or dark blue. Then, aluminum and silver conductors would be added so that the electricity produced by the cells can be transferred and stored to a battery.
Finally, the cells would be placed on a panel. The usual appearance would be in rows or columns although there are quite few that takes in different shapes. To protect it from damage because they are very fragile, a transparent glass or plastic would be placed over the cells. Frames would be added to keep the cells intact and for added protection as well. Now, the solar panel is now ready to be installed.
Before, the main problem of scientists is that solar cells are not efficient enough to produce electricity that could power even a single household. That is why it had been neglected for use as power source in the past. But now, solar cells have improved efficiency and its cost is staring to get cheaper than before. As science advances its study on solar cells, we are well on our way in fully solar cell energy to power our homes as well as the future of our planet.