What Are Solar Panels Made Of?

Solar is growing rapidly! California recently hit the 1 million solar-roof mark. As we see more and more of our neighbors here in the Golden State tapping into the most powerful energy source we have—the sun—you’ve probably wondered whether you should go solar, too. The answer is YES! Solar can help you save money and produce clean energy.

Now is a great time to educate yourself about everything solar and, as always, the friendly experts at A.M. Sun Solar are here to help! 

Let’s start with the basics: What are solar panels made of? Solar panels absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity. To create the world’s cheapest renewable energy source, you need silicon, metal, and glass. 

The most common semiconductor material used in solar cells is silicon. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 95% of modules sold today are made from silicon, which happens to be the second most abundant material on Earth, after oxygen. 

Monocrystalline silicon wafers are made up of one crystal structure, and polycrystalline silicon is made up of lots of different crystals. Monocrystalline panels are more efficient because the electrons move more freely to generate electricity, but polycrystalline cells are less expensive to manufacture.

Monocrystalline silicon is found in sand. It’s inexpensive, but must be refined in a chemical process before it can be turned into crystalline silicon to conduct electricity. 

Crystalline silicon is melted and mixed together with boron to give it a positive electrical polarity. The silicon is then shaped into cylindrical ingots. Blocks of crystalline silicon are cut into thin wafers. The wafer is processed on both sides to separate the electrical charges and to form a diode, a device that allows current to flow in only one direction.

Solar cells are then strung together to make a module, and when modules are connected, they make a solar system, or installation. 

Several different components make up a solar panel: silicon solar cells, an aluminum frame, a glass sheet, and wire. The solar cells are soldered together between anti-reflective glass panels. The frame offers protection and assists in mounting, and the glass also provides a protective layer.

Solar technology continues to evolve and efficiency will only increase in the future. Of course, it always bears repeating that solar remains a clean, sustainable energy source that reduces our carbon footprint!

“When we make power where we use it, as in solar, we’re much more efficient,” said Mark Miller, co-founder and partner at A.M Sun Solar. “If we built with thinking about the sun more, we could live more sustainably.”

If you’re ready to make the switch to solar or you’re thinking about adding panels to your current system, A.M. Sun Solar offers free consultations! Our team is waiting to talk to you about the best energy solution for your needs. Fill out the form below to schedule your FREE solar consultation!

Interested in learning more? Fill out the form below to schedule your FREE solar Consultation!

Whether you want to install a battery to your existing system or completely new system, our team of friendly solar experts is here to help create your custom solar solution.

More about A.M. Sun Solar

A.M. Sun Solar is the local leader in custom solar solutions and installations on the Central Coast. For over 15 years, A.M. Sun Solar has provided high quality, cost efficient solar energy to residences and small businesses in San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Santa Barbara counties. With a wide variety of financing solutions available, affordable pricing, custom solutions and complete installations from permit to interconnection, A.M. Sun Solar is the go to local solar company on the Central Coast.

Connect with us today at hello@amsunsolar.com, (805) 772-6786, or fill out the form below to get a FREE on-site consultation with one of our friendly solar experts.