What Are Amorphous Silicon Solar Panels?

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What Are Amorphous Silicon Solar Panels?

By   |   Submitted On October 16, 2008

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Expert Author Joseph Sawvel

Solar panels are generally made of either amorphous or crystalline silicon. So, what is amorphous silicon? Well, amorphous just means that the solar cells have no crystal structure. When you look at many solar panels, you will notice a mosaic pattern. This mosaic is the various silicon crystals that have grown together in different orientations.

Amorphous type silicon solar panels do not have crystal structure. They are like glass or obsidian. The silicon atoms are all frozen together in a random way. However in crystalline type silicon solar panels, the silicon forms a lattice or regular repeating crystal structure.

The advantages of crystalline type solar cells is that they are generally more efficient. However, the crystals take time to grow and are therefore more expensive to produce.

Amorphous silicon panels are cheaper to produce, because there is no crystal structure that needs time to form. However, amorphous solar panels are less efficient.

Some solar panel manufacturers such as Sanyo have produced solar panels that use a combination of amorphous and crystalline silicon for maximum effect. The high efficiency crystalline silicon may be used to capture the majority of the energy, but layers of the amorphous variety of silicon are added to capture what is left.

So, what are amorphous construction silicon panels? They are solar panels made from the non- crystalline variety of silicon.

note: When purchasing crystalline or amorphous silicon panels it is important to weigh efficiency with cost. A crystalline silicon panel may be very efficient, but the cost may out-way the benefits. Amorphous panels are less efficient, but they are also cheaper. So, there is always a balance between cost and benefit.

Joseph Sawvel

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