The Anatomy of a Solar Panel

Maybe you’ve heard that solar panels can save you up to 90% on your electrical bill. No? Well, you have now!

That kind of savings would make any reasonable person consider a solar panel system for their home. And with building techniques constantly improving, they have never been more affordable. But shouldn’t you know how it all works?

If you’re asking yourself “what are solar panels made out of,” the answer is more simple than you think. Continue reading for a breakdown of the technology and how you can benefit from it.

What Is a Solar Panel?

A solar panel is a system used to collect the energy from sunlight using a series of refined mirrors. These mirrors, contained in solar cells, help absorb the electrons from solar radiation and send them through a current to convert them into electricity. 

Solar panels provide a clean alternative to non-renewable energy sources such as coal and natural gas. They come in various sizes and designs for a wide range of uses. And as manufacturing techniques have improved over the years, the cost of solar panels is more affordable than ever.

How Are Solar Panels Made?

A few types of solar panels exist, but their designs follow the same principle. They all consist of solar cells, glass sheeting, metal framing, and connecting wires. The main difference between panel types comes in the material used in their solar cells.

The solar cell is the powerhouse of the panel; its the feature that absorbs sunlight and converts it to energy. Solar cells are made of semiconductor material that absorbs unique energy wavelengths. Some semiconductor materials used in solar cells include:

  • Silicon
  • Cadmium Telluride
  • Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide
  • Organic Compounds

The type of semiconductor used determines its use; they affect the cell’s bandgap (the wavelength it can absorb), life expectancy, and production cost. The most common semiconductor used in residential and commercial solar panels is silicon. It’s a highly accessible material and easy to work with, making it ideal for consumer purposes.

These solar cells are soldered together to create a series for sunlight to travel through. The two layers of flexible and transparent glass lie on top to protect the cells from damage. The entire set is then encased in a metal frame and mounted to your roof.

Understanding the Cost of Solar Panels

Knowing how your solar panel is built can help you understand how companies price their products. Panels made with less efficient semiconductors may cost less, but you’ll lose value in the long run. Check out how this company can help you save money on your panels with their solar savings estimate.

More on Solar Panels

Now that you’ve discovered the answer to the question “what are solar panels made of,” you can start looking for the best equipment for your energy needs. Alternative, clean energy is growing rapidly, and new resources are becoming available all the time. To keep updated on the latest trends in solar and other renewable energy, check out our Tech section.